Man gets 28 years in prison for 2019 murder of South Austin man

A man charged with the 2019 murder of a South Austin man has been sentenced to nearly three decades.

36-year-old Francisco Lopez was convicted earlier this month of the murder of 32-year-old Guillermo Bernal Gomez. 

Around 2:45 a.m. on June 23, 2019, Austin police officers were dispatched to the Bainbridge Villas apartment complex in the 3600 block of Southridge Drive. According to court paperwork, someone had called 911 and reported finding someone "slumped-over" with blood on his arms.

When officers arrived, they found Gomez with gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at 2:59 a.m.

Homicide detectives processed the scene and found Gomez's phone, shell casings and a McDonald's cup on the ground near his body. 

When detectives went to notify his family, they made contact with his roommate, who told them he had last seen Gomez the night before. Gomez told him "I'll be back" and left his vehicle at the apartment, which led the roommate to believe someone had given him a ride.

The apartment complex where Gomez was found was about seven miles away from his home.


Based on cell phone records and the McDonald's cup found at the scene, investigators also pulled surveillance video from a nearby McDonald's and observed a vehicle picking up drinks from the drive-thru. The driver's face as well as a tattoo were seen on the video.

Cell phone records also showed Gomez had been communicating with another phone number before leaving his home. 

Detectives then traced that number to a Travis County Jail inmate who had called it the day before Gomez's murder and referenced a traffic stop. Body camera footage from that traffic stop led investigators to Francisco Lopez, who was identified as the driver in the drive-thru video.

A witness later told investigators that Lopez had told him over the phone he had been ordered to kill Gomez by the cartel, court paperwork says. Another witness said Gomez had owed people a substantial amount of money and that Lopez had come to his home to apologize for killing Gomez.

Cell records also put Lopez at both Gomez's residence and the apartment complex where Gomez was found, and identified a third person involved. That third person told investigators he had witnessed Gomez's murder and that Lopez had asked him to set up a fake drug deal so he could kill Gomez.

Lopez was arrested in Feb. 2020 and charged with Gomez's murder.