Apologetic killer gets life in jail
Todd Lopez will be eligible for parole; he stabbed his girlfriend while on crystal meth
A Circuit Court judge has sentenced a man to life in prison with the possibility of parole for stabbing to death his girlfriend with a knife and screwdriver.
A weeping Todd Lopez apologized to family members of girlfriend Memory Joy Medina for what he did, said deputy public defender Edward Aquino.
"He was adamant about admitting guilt and taking full responsibility," Aquino said.
But Deputy Prosecutor Scott Bell reminded the court on Tuesday that Medina's death was brutal and unjustified.
Medina's brother and a cousin told Lopez they had already forgiven him and were not looking for retribution, Aquino said. He said Orville Salibad, Medina's brother, expressed hope that Lopez realizes what he did wrong and said that he will have to live with it for the rest of his life.
Lopez was about to proceed via jury-waived trial in July when he decided to plead guilty to second-degree murder.
Letters submitted to the court on Lopez's behalf described him as a peaceful and otherwise kind person who was introduced to "ice" by Medina, 30.
But Bell told Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto that it was Lopez's choice to use crystal methamphetamine and that what he did to Medina was inexcusable. On Nov. 24, 2002, the couple were smoking "ice" at their Waipahu apartment when Lopez apparently became paranoid and grabbed a knife, Bell said.
He stabbed Medina in the throat, and as she lay on the floor unable to breathe, he stepped on her neck to hasten her death, Bell said.
Lopez then tried to stab Medina in the heart, but the blade broke so he got a screwdriver and drove it into her heart, Bell said.
A family member who lived in the adjoining home had heard Medina's muffled screams and thumping noises. But when he went to check on them, Lopez told him nothing had happened and that he could speak to Medina, who was in the bathroom.
The family member noted blood on Lopez's hands at the time but did not say anything and left without speaking to or checking on Medina, Bell said.
Lopez apparently spent the night with Medina's body in the apartment before leaving the next morning.
Medina's body was found three days later after someone called police to check on her.