FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A man who took a friend into a wooded area, shot him, then left him to die has been found guilty.

An Allen County jury on Thursday convicted Anthony Lopez, Jr., now 42, of Murder and Being a Felon Carrying a Handgun in the April 10 shooting death of William Jeffrey Kintzel, 63, in a wooded area off McCormick Avenue. He was also convicted on a third charge of using a firearm in the commission of a crime that could add 20 years on to the sentence of murder at 65 years.

He will be sentenced Nov. 8 at 1:30 p.m.

Lopez was found guilty after a three-day trial. Lopez’s attorney, Richard Thonert, said his client intends to appeal the conviction.

Lopez shot Kintzel three times just after he took the barrel of his gun and beat his face with it. The crime occurred on April 10, according to police who matched video to the scene, but his body wasn’t discovered until April 14.

Lopez was charged several days later.

Allen County Prosecutors Tom Chaille and Tesa Helge showed a photo of Kintzel clinging to a branch as he attempted to crawl out of the woods to get help. The coroner testified that with his wounds, Kintzel could only live a half hour to an hour more as he struggled on the ground. He was shot three times, twice in the back with one of those bullets puncturing his lung and a third ripping through his leg, they said.

At every step of the crime from commission to coverup, Lopez was caught on video, Chaille and Helge said. Lopez was seen on video running out of the woods just seconds after Kintzel and Lopez entered the small wooded area where the 2300  block of Birchwood Avenue intersects with McCormick Avenue.  None of the three people seen in Kintzel’s 2021 silver Dodge Durango – Kintzel, Lopez and Michael A. Barker – lived in the neighborhood where people know their neighbors and watch out for each other, neighbors told WANE in April.

Fort Wayne police watched video that showed the SUV with the three occupants circling the area, coming to a stop at the woods with Kintzel at the wheel. When Lopez emerged from the woods, Barker was in the driver seat -or “getaway” as Helge put it – and they both drove off in the victim’s SUV.

“He never saw it coming,” Chaille said about the victim. “He (Lopez) shot him in the back twice and shot him in the leg. Mr. Kintzel tried to drag himself out of the woods,” adding that his arm was wrapped around a small branch he used to help him physically in his desperation.

Lopez, who often seemed bored with the court proceedings, forgot to take the key fob from around Kintzel’s neck, Chaille said. When police found it, the fob registered to Kintzel’s Dodge Durango that’d been towed from behind the Dollar General store in the 6400 block of East State Boulevard.

Video evidence from inside the Dollar General  showed Lopez and Barker buying snacks, Clorox wipes and bleach. Outside video showed them diligently cleaning out the car and then Lopez tossing bags into a dumpster which was emptied after April 10 when the shooting took place but before Kintzel’s body was discovered by a juvenile boy on April 14 around 7 p.m.

Barker walked off never to be seen again, Chaille said, but Lopez was caught pawning his gold necklace with a religious cross for $500  with the aid of a relative on the 15th. Later, he was picked up by detectives during a traffic stop.

Barker was charged shortly after the shooting death with felony murder and robbery resulting in serious bodily injury. There is and has been a warrant for his arrest.

Although no motive need be given in a homicide case, Chaille said the motive could have been robbery – Kintzel was left with no valuables on him except for the key fob around his neck – drugs, “or some sort of a beef or the defendant saw something.”

Questioned by homicide detectives Brian Martin and Darrin Strayer during a police interview, Lopez told them twice he didn’t kill Kintzel. But he was a friend.

Lopez’s attorney, Richard Thonert, said someone like his client, who only has a 9th grade education, was at a disadvantage with tough, experienced detectives like Martin and Strayer. Lopez ran out of the woods because he saw his friend, Kintzel, and panicked. His reaction was nothing more than that of the young kid who happened on Kintzel’s body in the woods. And just maybe, other people were there who shot him.

“He turned and ran. That’s what he did. He saw the body and turned and ran,” Thonert said. A few days later, he bought a gun to protect himself because “people were looking for him.” The gun used in the crime has not been found. There was no evidence of any bad blood between Lopez and Kintzel, he added.

Thonert inferred that if the prosecution had had Kintzel’s phone, more light might be shed on what took place prior to the deadly rendezvous in the woods. Of course, Lopez knew Kintzel who let Lopez borrow his car now and again. They partied together doing drugs, cocaine and that would be why Lopez never called 9-1-1 when he saw the body. People into that lifestyle don’t like getting involved with police.

“He did some pretty stupid things, but that doesn’t mean he’s guilty of murder,” said Thonert who maintained there wasn’t one single witness to prove the prosecution’s case. He also said if Lopez had meant to kill Kintzel, he wouldn’t have forgotten to take the SUV’s keys, something which forced Lopez and Barker to abandon the vehicle near the dumpster, as video shows.

Helge, who did the second closing for the state, asked if the two were such good friends, then it doesn’t explain why Lopez “doesn’t even bother to help him,” an older man who tried to save himself by crawling out of the woods.  Barker, who became the getaway driver, was seen nervously waiting in the SUV. Lopez was dramatically texting Barker that he was there in the woods waiting for him.

“He shoots him from behind and races out of the woods?” Helge said. “Gosh, that’s cold.” Lopez dumped his clothes behind Ziffles, parked his necklace at a pawn shop under a different name and an eyewitness saw Lopez take Kintzel into the woods. Another neighbor heard gunshots right around the time the shooting took place, but thought maybe they were were fireworks.

“Some cases just aren’t difficult when you put it all together,” Chaille said.

Lopez didn’t take the sentencing stoically. He glared at Helge and appeared to curse her.

One woman on Lopez’ side had to leave the courtroom and could be heard outside crying loudly. His mother shed her tears silently. No one from either family wanted to speak to the media after the verdicts.