Denise Figueroa, 22

Denise Figueroa, 22

VAN NUYS (KTLA) -- A Santa Monica man was sentenced Thursday to 56 years to life in prison for murdering his girlfriend and stuffing her body in the trunk of her car.

Adel Tabrizi Chapel, 25, was convicted of beating Denise Figueroa, 22, to death with a hammer last month. A jury deliberated three hours before convicting Chapel of first degree murder.

Police found Figueroa's body in the trunk of her black Nissan Altima in Valley Village on March 7, 2009 after an anonymous fax was sent to the KTLA-TV newsroom with a tip telling police where the body could be found.

After the verdict, one of the jurors who wanted to remain anonymous told KTLA in an exclusive interview that when Chapel was shown pictures of the crime scene, "he was just cold stone."

The juror also shared his thoughts on the guilty verdict saying he felt it was "justice, I felt we (the jury) did the right thing."

After the verdict was announced in court, Chapel shook his head while Figueroa's family and friends clapped and expressed relief.

The fax received by KTLA read:

"To Whom it may concern:

[Name removed] is believed to have killed [name removed] on Feb. 28. She should be reported missing by her family. The vehicle was cleaned up by [name removed] and his friend [name removed], her body is in the trunk of her car is a black trash bag. Which should be located in about a 1.2-2 square mile radius of 11911 Magnolia Blvd, [name removed] Valley Villiage, CA 91607."


That fax was sent by Chapel's brother who testified during the trial.

KTLA spoke to Marie Sanchez -- the Denise Figueroa's mother -- who said she was thankful that Chapel's brother led police to her daughter's body.

"I appreciate everything he did and I just want to thank him, thank you, and if he was here I would give him a hug and thank him myself" Sanchez said tearfully.