On November 9th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments challenging the constitutionality of juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) sentences. In preparation for oral arguments, JLWOP: Faces & Cases will be an on-going series on The Foundry that will tell real stories about juvenile offenders who are currently serving LWOP sentences.
Defendant: Eduardo Lopez (17)
Victims: Roscoe Powers, Robbie Goyette and Officer Tom MacLeod
Crimes: Two counts, First degree murder & other charges
Crime date: March 23, 1991 in Nashua, New Hampshire
In just two hours, Eduardo Lopez shot a man who refused to give him money, tried to rob and then shot and killed another man, and assaulted a police officer with a broom handle when the officer attempted to question him.
At about 9 p.m. on March 23, 1991, Eduardo Lopez approached Roscoe Powers on Main Street in Nashua, New Hampshire. Lopez aimed his gun at Powers and demanded money. Powers turned and ran, and Lopez gave chase. When Powers slipped on ice, Lopez was able to catch up with him. Lopez then shot Powers in the chest, but Powers managed to stand up and run. Lopez resumed his chase.
Powers pulled out a knife and turned to confront Lopez, and this time Lopez fled. Though seriously injured, Powers would survive.
Less than an hour later, Lopez approached Robbie Goyette and a friend as they sat in a car. Lopez stuck his gun inside the car and demanded money. Goyette refused and attempted to drive away. Lopez ran along side the car and shot Goyette in the neck, killing him.
Later that night, Nashua police officer Tom MacLeod was searching for the shooter. He came upon Lopez, who was walking out of his house bearing a three-foot-long broom handle. Officer MacLeod attempted to stop and question Lopez, who struck him repeatedly with the handle. Ultimately, the officer was able to subdue Lopez and arrest him.
Eduardo Lopez was convicted after a jury trial and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the murder of Robert Goyette. When he heard the verdict, Lopez overturned the defense table and swore and made obscene gestures at the judge, jury, and media. Bailiffs had to forcibly remove him from the courtroom.
Lopez also received an additional 4 to 8 years for attacking Officer MacLeod, 7 to 15 ½ years for robbery, and 10 to 20 years for first-degree assault.
Charles D. Stimson is Senior Legal Fellow and Andrew M. Grossman is Senior Legal Policy Analyst in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.