Victoria Mendoza was arrested on Oct. 20, 2014 after police found her in an Ogden church parking lot with her girlfriend, Tawnee Maria Baird, dead in a car. Baird died from over 40 stab wounds to her face, neck and chest, according to charging documents.
During an interview with police, Mendoza said the two were physically fighting while driving on Interstate 15 when she "lost it." Mendoza said she pulled out a knife and started stabbing Baird.
On Feb. 27, 2015, Mendoza pleaded guilty to stabbing her girlfriend, going against the wishes of her attorney, Michael Studebaker.
Studebaker said if she had not pleaded guilty he would have used the “battered-woman syndrome” defense, according to previous Standard-Examiner reporting.
"I’m pleading guilty," Mendoza said during a court hearing. "Doesn’t matter if you’re a battered woman or not, you just don’t stab and kill someone."
Mendoza's guilty plea was not a part of any type of plea deal, and a district judge later sentenced her to serve 16 years to life in prison, the maximum penalty for the murder charge.
"I have no excuse for what I did, it's the main reason why I pleaded guilty," Mendoza said at the sentencing. “I’m the monster here.”
Many of Baird's family members believed Mendoza should have been charged with aggravated murder instead of murder, which would carry a heavier prison sentence. "Tawnee had a lot of dreams. She doesn't get a second chance. ... Victoria shouldn't get a second chance," Baird's father said.
Baird's family said they are planning on attending every one of Mendoza's parole hearings, in the effort to keep Mendoza in prison for the rest of her life.
Mendoza remains in the custody of the Utah State Prison, and her parole hearing is set for October 2039.
Mendoza's case was featured in Season 10, Episode 8 of "Deadly Women," a television series that airs on the Investigation Discovery Channel.