ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Governor Martinez along with people around the country are upset that an infamous mom behind perhaps the most brutal child-abuse case in New Mexico history, will get out almost 13 years early.
Violent family members caused the death of baby Brianna, while others hid what they knew was going on. Now her mother, Stephanie Lopez, is causing a stir on the internet and around the country.
"A beautiful little girl and anyone would have taken her," Governor Susana Martinez said Tuesday.
Brianna would have been 10 this year. She will forever be remembered by her autopsy photo, lying on a cold metal table, covered in bruises and bite marks, raped and murdered.
"It's sad, its extremely sad," said Martinez.
Martinez prosecuted Brianna's mother, father and uncle when she was the district attorney in Las Cruces. All three were convicted, but Stephanie Lopez was only found guilty of child abuse.
"It's unfortunate that there wasn't more, there wasn't a greater penalty that we could have charged her with," said Martinez.
In 2003 Lopez was sentenced to 27 years in prison, but if she behaves she will only serve half of that and will be released in four years.
Almost 30,000 people from all over the country have signed an online petition asking the state to block her release. However, their efforts will mean nothing.
Lopez has earned good time; and unlike Brianna's father and uncle who were convicted of raping and murdering Brianna, she doesn't have to serve 85 percent of her sentence because child abuse is not considered a violent crime.
"The fact that she can get out and walk free after allowing her little baby girl to be brutally killed while she is present, and raped, that is something that she is going to have to live with the rest of her life," Martinez said.
The Governor said Brianna's case has toughened child abuse laws, but thinks it may be time to go farther.
"Maybe that 85 percent penalty is something we need to start looking at even though you are not the person actually inflicting that physical harm," Martinez said.
Brianna's father, Andy Walters, is serving 48 years in prison and her uncle, Steven Lopez, is serving 42 years.
Because of Brianna's case, murdering a child is now an automatic life sentence.
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