The aunt of a dead 18-month-old boy tearfully told the Tyler man who pleaded guilty to the child’s murder a few minutes earlier that she would never see her nephew walk or talk.
Lopez was charged with capital murder in the death of Emma Torres’ 18-month-old son, Jeremy Silva, in July 2010.
Lopez was babysitting Jeremy and another child while their mother, his girlfriend, was at work, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. He reportedly contacted the boy’s aunt and told her he was not breathing. Silva was dropped off with the aunt and then taken to the emergency room, where he was pronounced dead, according to the marshals.
U.S. Marshals arrested Lopez in Mexico in July 2011. Autopsy reports showed the baby died from heart damage resulting from blunt force trauma to the chest, according to information from police. The Lopez trial was set for February 2013.
Doctors also noticed other signs of abuse, including strangulation, broken ribs and severe bruising, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
The Smith County District Attorney’s Office agreed to drop the capital murder charges against Ms. Torres after she agreed to cooperate with them in the prosecution of Lopez. Ms. Torres is now serving two years in a state jail facility after she pleaded guilty in October to a charge of abandoning a child.
Defense Attorney Greg Waldron said in court in October that the child abandonment charge regarding the older child results from the fact Lopez drove Ms. Torres to work, and Jeremy and her older child were left home alone in 2010.
Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham said in a news conference after the hearing that young Jeremy’s family was in agreement with the Lopez decision to plead guilty. He credited April Sikes, Smith County Assistant District Attorney and Tyler Police Detective Michelle Brock with helping put the case together.
“This could have been a three-month trial, and it would have been so hard on the family,” Bingham said, adding he thought Lopez’s decision to plead guilty was the best for everyone involved.
Detective Brock said, “We have justice for Jeremy.”