(Trinidad Guardian) Stephen “Yankee” Lopez, who confessed that he murdered his friend 15 years ago, yesterday expressed his remorse and thanked a judge for bringing closure in the matter.
Lopez, who has been in prison since 2003, was sentenced by Justice Althea Alexis-Windsor in the San Fernando First Criminal Court after he pleaded guilty based on the murder felony principle.
“The 15 years, eight months and 16 days I spent … not a day did not pass when I did not think about my friend who I killed,” he said after he was sentenced.
He said he was ashamed of his actions.
Lopez killed Anthony Stewart in March 2003 at his wife’s business place, Nana’s Pub, at Pond Street, La Romaine.
The court heard that around 6 am on March 29, 2003, Stewart’s wife arrived at the business place and found her husband lying on the floor of the room.
When Cpl Roland Surujbally arrived on the scene he noticed wounds to Stewart’s face and head and saw a bent cutlass, a broken piece of brown bottle and a green beer bottle next to the body.
Later that day, complainant Sgt Persad, along with other officers, went to Lopez’s Pond Street, La Romaine home where they found blood-stained clothing. In one of the trousers, the police found Stewart’s bloodstained watch. The accused was not at home. He was arrested in Point Fortin the following month.
Lopez, who had healed abrasions on his face, chest and arm, told police he went to check a friend who rented an apartment downstairs the pub and fell asleep. He said when he awoke he went upstairs and a man attacked him with a cutlass. He claimed that they struggled and fell down. During the struggle, he admitted to hitting the man with two bottles.
Lopez told police he took Stewart’s watch to make it look like a robbery. The tenant, however, told police his apartment had been broken into.
The judge started the sentence at 32 years but deducted the time Lopez spent in custody, one third for his guilty plea and three years for mitigating factors.
The judge also advised Lopez to participate in the programmes in prison to prepare for his eventual release. He was represented by attorney Rekha Ramjit.