Teen identified as murder suspect by dying victim says he "snapped"

DUBLIN, Calif. -- A suspect in the killing of a 19-year-old woman found stabbed and covered in blood by the side of a road tells a television station he snapped and never meant to kill her. Daniel Gross tells Oakland station KTVU in a jailhouse interview he acted in self-defense after his friend Lizette Cuesta elbowed him in the ribs.  

People driving by found Cuesta around 2 a.m. Monday crawling on her stomach about 100 yards along a road outside Livermore. Investigators believe she was dumped from a vehicle and left for dead.  Her story grabbed national headlines after her deathbed testimony pointed investigators to her alleged killers.

 "This victim really tried to survive," said Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for Alameda County Sheriff's Department. "She fought, and she fought. The last thing we believe she was able to do was to point us in the direction of the people who killed her."  


Lizette Cuesta, 19, was stabbed and left on a rural road near Livermore early Monday morning, Feb. 12, 2018.

CBS Sacramento

Gross told the station the two weren't arguing when Cuesta elbowed him. He said he didn't plan the attack.

 "I feel like [expletive.]  I [expletive] hate myself, you know? I wish I could go back in time and that this never happened."

The 19-year-old says the confrontation happened after he and Cuesta had sex in the back of his fiance Melissa Leonardo's car as Leonardo drove. He says all three worked at the same fast food restaurant. He said he had a sexual relationship with both women, and both were aware and didn't object.

Officials on Wednesday charged Gross and 25-year-old Leonardo with murder. The two were arraigned Wednesday and were due back in court Thursday, reports CBS affiliate KPIX.