The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly. This information, however, is subject to change and may not reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied upon for statistical or legal purposes.
LOPEZ, Eduardo (W/M)
Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Dade County Case# 83-11553
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable D. Bruce Levy
Attorneys, Trial: William Castro & Gisele M. Pollack – Private
Attorney, Trial (Resentencing): Keith Haymes – Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Michael B. Chavies – Private
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Marian Perez-Garcia – CCRC-S
Date of Offense: 01/29/83
Date of Sentence: 02/13/84
Date of Resentence: 02/13/86
Circumstances of the Offense:
Maria Perez-Vega, a surviving victim, worked as a tour guide for clients that were wealthy individuals mainly from Latin countries. One of her clients was the wife of Rafael Paz, an alleged marijuana dealer. Perez-Vega had little contact with Paz. On two previous occasions, Paz’s wife had asked Perez-Vega to pick up her “husband’s money.”
On 01/02/83, Paz showed up at Perez-Vega’s home with Raul Gomez and an unidentified woman. Paz asked Perez-Vega if she would do him a favor. He stated that he was returning to South America and did not want to leave his package, which contained over $50,000, at the airport or the hotel. Paz asked Perez-Vega if she would keep the package for him and she reluctantly agreed. Paz then counted the money and walked unattended throughout the house checking doors and windows. Finally, Paz watched Perez-Vega place the money in a closet in one of the bedrooms on an upper shelf behind some unused blankets. He then asked her to exchange some money for him at a bank. He instructed her to go to the airport currency exchange. She left and took her daughter. When Perez-Vega returned home, the house had been ransacked, and a window in the northwest bedroom was open. The money was missing.
Paz returned to the house after a short time, and Perez-Vega told him what happened. She suggested that they call the police, but Paz refused and kept stating that he was ruined. Paz left the house and returned with Gomez. Paz asked Perez-Vega to tell Gomez what happened. Gomez did not appear to believe Perez-Vega. Paz told Perez-Vega that if anyone called from South America that she was to tell them what happened to the money. At 6:00 a.m. the next morning, Perez-Vega received a call from Paz, who was in South America. Another male was on the phone, and Paz asked Perez-Vega to explain what happened to the money. She again recounted the story, but this time Paz accused her or her daughter of taking the money.
On the evening of 01/28/83, Perez-Vega’s two teenage daughters were at a disco, and Perez-Vega was home watching television with her 8-year-old son, Reimar. They had both fallen asleep in her bedroom watching TV. Perez-Vega woke up when she heard the sound of intruders, and then the overhead light was switched on. Perez-Vega saw three figures enter the room, but she could only identify the one closest to her, which was Eduardo Lopez. Perez-Vega screamed and Lopez placed his hand over her mouth and told her to “be quiet.” When Perez-Vega would not be quiet, Lopez put his hand over her nose and mouth; she bit his hand. She then asked, “What do you want?” but none of the intruders responded. Lopez then placed a small caliber pistol to Perez-Vega’s temple. One of the other intruders said “shoot her, kill her.” Lopez then shot Perez-Vega. The bullet shattered her cheekbone only causing superficial damage. After being shot, Perez-Vega remained conscious and saw her son get on his knees and plead with Lopez, “Please don’t hurt my mommy. Damn you, leave my mommy alone.” Perez-Vega then heard one of the other intruders state “kill him, kill the kid.” Perez-Vega then heard a muffled sound.
The three intruders left the house and Perez-Vega immediately called the police. Reimar was pronounced brain dead upon his arrival to the hospital. The medical examiner stated that Reimar’s injuries were consistent with being held and then shot in the back of the neck at very close range. The police found each room in the house ransacked as if the whole house had been completely searched. The northeast bedroom window was open and a pane of the glass was cracked. Lopez was suspected as being the shooter, and was identified by Perez-Vega. Lopez was arrested and gave a statement, which he declared he had shot the boy but it was not intentional. According to Lopez, he entered the house alone and did not expect to find anyone and the child was shot during a struggle between himself and Perez-Vega.
Lopez stated that he was in the house searching for the $52,000 that Perez-Vega stole from Rafael Paz. Lopez asserted that he learned this information from Francisco Felipe. Felipe supposedly owed Lopez $25,000 and Felipe was resisting paying. Lopez stated that he knew where he could get the money; Lopez and Felipe were to burglarize Perez-Vega’s home and steal the money, which would be split between the two. The fingerprints found at the entry of Perez-Vega’s home were positively identified as Lopez’s.
Margarita Cantin Garcia and Francisco Felipe were also suspected to have been involved in the murder, attempted murder and armed burglary. After Lopez signed a plea agreement stating that he would testify against them, the two were arrested and indicted on the three charges mentioned above. On 05/03/85, Lopez stated under oath that he would not testify against Margarita Cantin Garcia although he admitted her participation in the event. Due to Lopez’s refusal to comply with the conditions of his plea agreement, the State was forced to nolle prosse the cases against Garcia and Felipe.
Lopez died of natural causes on 3/26/04.
06/10/84 Indicted as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder
Count II: Attempted First-Degree Murder
Count III: Burglary of a Dwelling
06/13/84 Defendant entered a plea agreement stating that he would plea guilty to all
charges in exchange for his testimony against the other individuals involved in the offense
06/13/84 Judgment and sentence. In accordance to the plea agreement, the defendant was sentenced as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder – Life
Count II: Attempted First-Degree Murder – Life
Count III: Burglary of a Dwelling – Life
The sentences of life were to run concurrent with a mandatory minimum
of 25 years without parole and a concurrent 3 years mandatory minimum
sentence on Counts II and III
05/14/85 Motion filed by the State to enforce the plea agreement due to the fact that the defendant refused to testify against his accomplices.
06/20/85 Motion to Withdrawal as Attorney of Record filed by Defense Attorney Keith Haymes
07/19/85 The State of Florida’s Memorandum of Law on the Facial Validity of the
Previously – Entered Plea Bargained Guilty Plea and Enforcement of the Plea Agreement
07/22/85 Defendant’s Motion to Set Aside Plea Agreement and Memorandum of Law in Support thereof in Response to the State’s Motion to Enforce Plea
08/02/95 Order vacating sentence signed by D. Bruce Levy
12/02/85 Defendant entered a written Waiver of Advisory Jury Sentence
02/13/86 Defendant was resentenced by D. Bruce Levy as follows:
Count I: First-Degree Murder – Death
Count II: Attempted First-Degree Murder – Life imprisonment with a mandatory minimum of three years incarceration without the possibility of parole consecutive to Count I
Count III: Burglary with an Assault – Life imprisonment with a mandatory minimum of three years without the possibility of parole to run consecutive to Counts I and II
536 So. 2d 226
03/24/86 Appeal filed
12/22/88 FSC affirmed convictions and sentence
01/26/89 Mandate issued
634 So. 2d 1054
04/16/90 Petition filed
09/02/93 FSC denied the petition
12/09/93 FSC issued an amended opinion
04/20/94 Rehearing denied and mandate issued
08/28/90 Motion filed
05/21/91 Motion denied
634 So. 2d 10.54
07/08/91 Appeal filed
09/02/93 FSC affirmed the trial’s court denial 3.850 but remanded to the trial court to inspect in camera those portions of its records that the State’s attorney’s office sealed to determine if they are exempt from disclosure.
12/09/93 FSC issued an amended opinion
04/20/94 Rehearing denied and mandate issued
01/19/95 The trial court held an in-camera inspection and determined that portions of the sealed records should be disclosed and other portions should remain
696 So. 2d 725
04/17/95 Appeal filed
05/15/97 FSC affirmed trial court’s decision
07/09/97 Rehearing denied
08/08/97 Mandate issued
04/23/97 Petition filed
10/15/98 Administrative order issued closing the case
05/17/00 The case was reopened
09/13/01 Petition was denied
525 U.S. 1116
09/16/98 Petition filed
01/19/99 Petition denied
United States Court of Appeals – Habeas Appeal
12/06/01 Appeal filed
05/25/04 Appeal dismissed
03/29/90 Death Warrant signed by Governor Bob Martinez
04/26/90 Florida State Supreme Court granted a four-month stay of execution
09/17/93 Florida State Supreme Court granted a stay of execution
06/28/89 Clemency hearing held (denied)
It took three years for the Florida Supreme Court to decide Lopez’s Direct Appeal. It also took approximately four years for the Florida Supreme Court to render a decision for the petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and the first 3.850 Appeal.
The direct appeal was filed on 03/24/86 to the Florida Supreme Court. The main issues that were raised on the direct appeal were surrounding Lopez’s plea agreement. Lopez stated that the trial court erred in refusing to allow him to withdrawal the plea agreement and to proceed to trial on all issues and by setting aside the plea agreement because it was not freely and voluntarily made. The Court affirmed the trial court’s opinions that Lopez entered the plea agreement, agreed to testify against his accomplices and agreed to the alteration of the sentence if he failed to testify freely, voluntarily, and intelligently. The Court also affirmed the death sentence on 12/22/88. A mandate was issued on 01/26/89. A clemency hearing was held on 06/28/89 and clemency was not granted.
On 03/29/90, Governor Martinez signed a death warrant for Lopez. On 04/16/90 Lopez filed a petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to the Florida Supreme Court and asked for a stay of execution. A four-month stay was granted by the Court on 04/26/90. Lopez then filed a 3.850 Motion on 8/28/90 with the Circuit Court. On 05/21/91, the Circuit Court denied the 3.850 Motion without an evidentiary hearing and, subsequently, an appeal of the trial court’s decision was filed to the Florida Supreme Court on 07/08/91. In October 1992, Lopez filed a supplement to the original habeas petition that raised additional issues.
On 12/09/93, the Florida Supreme Court issued an opinion regarding both the Habeas petition and the 3.850 Appeal. The Court ruled that the issues raised in the 3.850 Motion were procedurally barred; therefore, there was no need for an evidentiary hearing. The main issue that was raised in the appeal was the issue that Lopez was improperly denied access to public records, specifically, the records of the polygraph examiner, the doctor that hypnotized Perez-Vega, and the state attorney’s files. The State Attorney’s office had previously turned over its files, except those portions that were considered work product or sealed. In the 12/09/93 opinion, the Florida Supreme Court directed the state attorney’s office to allow the trial court to perform an in-camera inspection of the portions of the records that were previously considered work product or sealed. If any of the documents were to be disclosed after this process, Lopez had 30 days from the access date to amend his 3.850 Motion. In regard to all other issues, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the 3.850. All of the issues that were raised in the Habeas were either procedurally barred, improperly raised, or had no merit; therefore, the Court denied the petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. On 12/09/93, the Court issued a revised opinion and, on 04/20/94, the rehearing was denied and the mandate was issued.
On 01/19/95, the Circuit Court held a hearing concerning the publics records and stated that it would determine whether the withheld documents were exempt from disclosure, in addition to determining whether the withheld documents contained any Brady materials. After examining the materials, the Circuit Court discerned that a few items should be disclosed and stated that Lopez had 30 days to file any new claims based on the disclosure. 20 days after the disclosure, Lopez filed a notice of appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. On 05/15/97, the Court affirmed the trial court’s decision. The rehearing was denied 07/09/97 and the mandate was issued on 08/08/97.
Lopez filed a petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus to the United States District Court, Southern District, on 04/23/97. On 10/15/98, an administrative order was issued closing the case. Prior to this order Lopez had filed a petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. The petition was denied on 01/19/99. The petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus was reopened in the United States District Court, Southern District, on 05/17/00 and denied on 09/13/01.
Lopez filed a Habeas appeal to the United States Court of Appeals on 12/06/01. Lopez died of natural causes on 03/26/04, which led to the dismissal of the Habeas appeal on 05/25/04.
Lopez died of natural causes on 3/26/04.
DATE DAYS VIOLATION LOCATION
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09/23/86 0 POSS OF CONTRABAND FLORIDA STATE PRISON
07/15/93 0 POSS OF CONTRABAND UNION C. I.
09/12/94 0 DISOBEYING ORDER UNION C. I.
08/14/97 0 DISOBEYING ORDER UNION C. I.
Report Date: 10/31/01 NMP
Approved: 11/08/01 WS
Updated: 04/15/05 NRC