Ex-boyfriend of woman beaten, strangled to death in Orange County convicted of her murder

Aaron Romo (left) and Mirelle Mateus (right) / Anaheim Police Department

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A man who was free on bail on domestic violence charges was convicted Wednesday of killing his ex-girlfriend in Anaheim. 

Aaron Romo, 38, was convicted of the first-degree murder of Mirelle Mateus, 24, along with felony counts of domestic violence and false imprisonment. 

Romo was arrested after Mateus' body was found in an apartment in the 1900 block of South Union Street on March 17, 2023. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Woman found dead in Orange County apartment; suspect arrested

The two first met in May 2022 and within one month of dating moved in together, Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Birney said, according to City News Service.

By December of that same year, however, Mateus had filed a restraining order against Romo, who allegedly threw her over a guardrail of their apartment's balcony, Birney said Romo was charged with domestic violence. 

Romo apparently contacted Mateus on March 16 asking her to pick him up after a night at the bar in which he was involved in a fight and suffered two black eyes, the prosecutor said. 

Mateus drove Romo back to his apartment, where the two got into a "violent struggle," Birney said. 

Mateus' mom became concerned after not being able to reach her daughter and went to Romo's apartment, where she discovered her daughter's body in the bathtub. 

Romo had fled to Temecula to the home of his other girlfriend, Stephanie Rodriguez, the prosecutor said. He apparently confessed to her. 

Romo's attorney argued this was a case of voluntary manslaughter, not murder, because Romo allegedly suffered a concussion during the bar fight, which "impaired his ability to think through his actions."

There was evidence presented during the trial that Romo had five restraining orders with five women, with two saying he choked them during angry conflicts, according to Birney.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 24. If convicted, he faces at least 25 years to life in prison. Romo also faces a separate trial on an allegation he committed the murder while out on bail for domestic violence against Mateus.

City News Service contributed to this report.