On February 25 at the South County Justice Center, the court sentenced Eddie Lopez, 25 of Earlimart, to life in prison for violent crimes committed against family members.
On January 31, 2020, Lopez was convicted of felony attempted murder, kidnapping, corporal injury of a spouse, assault with a deadly weapon, criminal threats, false imprisonment, carjacking, and misdemeanor battery. Many of the counts were enhanced with special allegations a firearm was used and great bodily injury was inflicted.
At the time of the crimes, Lopez was on bail for unlawful intercourse with a person under the age of 18. Lopez pleaded guilty to that crime in June of 2019.
Lopez’s crimes began in Earlimart on November 18, 2018 when he got into an argument with a family member over the use of a car. After threatening the family member with a knife, he was given the keys and left.
The next day, Lopez, his wife, their infant child, and a friend began driving to northern California. During the trip, Lopez became increasingly angry with his wife and struck her with his hands and the butt of a revolver during their multiple stops.
Just north of Fresno, Lopez turned the car around and began the drive back to Earlimart. By this time, the victim had suffered multiple injuries including lacerations to her face, bruising, and a lost tooth. As a result of her injuries, she lost consciousness several times during the trip. Lopez also threatened to kill her and the friend if they went to the police. Once they arrived in Earlimart in the early morning of November 20, the victim attempted to escape the car, but Lopez grabbed her and continued to beat her. Lopez fled when he saw another car drive past. The victim was then able to flee and get medical attention.
Lopez was taken into custody the following day. Lopez isn't eligible for parole for 37 years minus credits. However, Lopez may be eligible for youthful offender parole after 20 years due to a law passed by the California State Legislature. The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office will oppose any early release.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Peter De Young and was investigated by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.