Santa Barbara Man Sentenced 25 Years to Life for Murdering Fiance

Source: Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced today that defendant Omar Leon was sentenced on Friday, March 11, by the Honorable Brian Hill in Department 2 of the Santa Barbara Superior Court, to serve 25 years to life for the murder of Lilia Munoz, who was his fiancé and the mother of their three children.

On June 4, 2019, Santa Barbara Police Officers arrived to a residence on Soledad Street to learn that the defendant had murdered Lilia, and had placed her body inside of a closet located in a bathroom. Lilia’s parents discovered her body when they arrived at the residence frantically searching for their daughter.

Omar Leon (Photo: Courtesy Santa Barbara Police Department)

Approximately 24 hours prior to the discovery of Lilia’s body, Leon strangled and suffocated Lilia. To conceal his crime, Leon dragged Lilia’s body to the bathroom where he placed her inside the closet. Leon then lied to Lilia’s parents regarding her whereabouts stating she had left the residence to go out with friends and never returned.

On January 25, 2022, Leon pled guilty to the charge of Willful, Deliberate, Premeditated Murder in violation of Penal Code section 187(a). At Leon’s sentencing, several members of Lilia’s family made Victim Impact Statements, expressing their love for Lilia and described the extreme loss each of them feels in her absence. Lilia’s children also provided letters to the court, as well as drawings they created for their mother. The love for Lilia was palpable. Lilia will never be forgotten.

District Attorney Dudley stated, “This outcome would not have been possible without the extraordinary investigation work by the Santa Barbara Police Department and District Attorney Investigators Dan
McGrew and Jeff Ellis. Along with the careful and zealous prosecution team lead by DDAs Megan Chanda and Hannah Meyer and Victim Advocate Lourdes Negrete. They all focused on justice and services to help the victim’s devastated family left behind.”

If you or someone you know is suffering domestic abuse, please reach out, help is available. The Domestic Violence Solutions Crisis Hotline is available 24 hours a day at 805-964-5245. The Victim- Witness Assistance Program of the District Attorney’s Office is also available by calling 805-568-2400. You can also find additional information on the following websites: Domestic Violence Solutions –; and Santa Barbara District Attorney Victim Witness Unit –

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