Judge delays sentencing for repeat probation violator

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A criminal with a history of probation violations could be getting yet another break in court. A judge will determine if Benito Lopez will serve the rest of his sentence for a murder and brutally beating an elderly couple 13-years-ago.

Despite multiple probation violations since his conviction, Lopez told Sandoval District Court Judge Louis McDonald on Wednesday he wants out of jail so he can get help. He also apologized to the families of his victims.

“I’m just asking for help,” Lopez stated. “I’d like to apologize to the family again. I’m sorry for what happened. I never meant for it to happen.”

Lopez spent 10 years in prison for nearly beating an elderly couple to death during a home invasion in Cuba back in 2006, then killing his friend, Alex Ogle, for refusing to take part.

He was released last year, then violated his probation by cutting off his ankle monitor and Judge McDonald sent him back to prison for a two-year sentence. He was released after just one year for good time, and a day later violated his probation by never showing up to meet his probation officer.

He turned himself in days later.

Wednesday in court, the sister of the man he killed told the judge that Lopez is a drug addict who is too dangerous to be let out.

“When he was out doing drugs before, he stabbed my brother over 17 times throughout his entire body, then he bashed his head in with a rock,” Ogle’s sister explained.

Lopez is facing a maximum of 25 years in jail to serve out the rest of his sentence.

His attorney argues that means Lopez would be over 50 years old when he gets out and unemployable. He suggested Lopez go to a two-year program in Española in lieu of prison where he could learn trade work.

Judge McDonald pushed back the sentencing to Monday. He first wants to find out if the two-year program can help address Lopez’s drug problems if he were to be released.

Lopez’s cousin, Michael Swick, who also took part in the crime, is still in prison. He was sentenced to 62 years.

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