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Tuesday, August 8, 2006 12:32 AM CDT
BY BILL DOLAN, email@example.com
Husband, father of dead Dyer boys wants no leniency
CROWN POINT | A Dyer woman will get an opportunity today to explain to her family and the public why she killed her two sons a year ago.
Magdalena Lopez sat stone-faced through three emotional hours of often poignant testimony from friends, relatives, in-laws and her former husband and children’s father, all of whom are trying to cope with the slaying of 2-year-old Erik Lopez and 9-year-old Anthony Lopez.
A packed courtroom heard graphic descriptions of how she fatally beat the older boy, then the younger in the back of the head with a barbell July 19, 2005, at their home at 1029 Cambridge Lane, Dyer.
Deputy Prosecutor Robert Persin played a recording of a message she left on her former husband’s cell phone after killing the boys. “I’m very sorry, but now you can start your life over. I did a terrible thing to Tony and Erik. But I’m at peace because they will be in heaven now. I will go to jail for the rest of my life.”
Lake Superior Court Judge Diane Boswell received a wide range of advice about what sentence to give the 31-year-old woman, if she sentences her today.
The boys’ father, Robert Lopez, said, “She showed no mercy or pity for my sons. I don’t think she should be given any, either.”
Maria Guillen, a cousin of Magdalena Lopez, said, “She was very kind and loving. She needs a hospital, not a prison.”
Boswell said the conditions of the agreement, under which Magdalena Lopez pleaded guilty but mentally ill to two counts of murder, require her to impose a minimum sentence of 45 years. Magdalena Lopez faces a maximum sentence of 160 years.
Magdalena Lopez can resolve questions about whether she killed the boys in the throes of a manic-depressive state of mind or out of spite at her former husband, who had a judge dissolve their marriage in May.
Maria Reyes, who said she has known Magdalena Lopez since their school days, described her as “the sweetest, kindest friend.”
Neighbors said the crime didn’t make sense based on what they knew of the suburban mother. Karen Larson, who lived on the same street, testified, “I saw a mom walking and playing, who loved her little boys. I saw a woman who was lonesome.”
Another neighbor, Sherry Vidal, said, “She was stuck in a marriage she felt she couldn’t get out of.” Court records show Magdalena Lopez twice filed for divorce in 1997 and three months before the killings, but the couple reconciled each time.
Magdalena Lopez was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. Witnesses said she went through periods of manic speech and eating followed by periods of depression so deep she refused to leave her bed to care for her children.
Reyes said Magdalena Lopez told her before the crime that she had attempted suicide and was briefly institutionalized.
Robert Lopez, described his older son as athletic and driven to play basketball and baseball. He said his younger son was quiet, reserved and “lovable.”
He looked directly at his ex-wife as he read a prepared statement: “Why didn’t you take yourself or take me? You broke the trust between a child and parent. You manipulated it, and for that I will never forgive you.”
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Lopez gets 110 years for killing her boys —(nwitimes)
BILL DOLAN, firstname.lastname@example.org
LOPEZ CASE: Judge: Many people failed mother, her children