Lopez Trial Day 1: Jurors see autopsy photos of man shot to death
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Testimony is underway in the trial of Jason Lee Lopez, accused of second-degree murder, racketeering allegedly involving the distribution of meth, money laundering, and other crimes.
Jurors saw grisly photos from the 2017 autopsy of 22-year-old Dustin Hammons as one of his alleged killers stands trial in state district court.
Hammon’s body was found in a wooded area of Starks where investigators concluded he was brought for the purpose of being killed in an area his body would not likely be found anytime soon.
But Hammon’s body was found, and one of two men charged with his murder is standing trial this week.
Hammons was shot ten times and died of multiple gunshots in August 2017, according to Calcasieu Parish Coroner Dr. Terry Welke.
Lopez, 39, was allegedly a debt collector for a man named Boyd “Lurch” Hagood, whom prosecutors say was a high-level drug distributor.
Lopez has admitted membership in the Aryan Brothers of Texas.
He’s been in jail since the killing - denied bond because authorities concluded he’s “extremely dangerous,” prosecutor Charles Robinson said back in 2020.
“Not just any gang, but a racist, white supremacist, Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, which means two things: he’s extremely dangerous, he has connections that are extremely dangerous, and he’s a flight risk because the gang itself is located out of state,” Robinson said at the time. “So, for those reasons, it’s an obvious situation where this person needs to be held until his trial.”
Forensic evidence shows two guns were used to kill Hammons.
The body would probably not have been discovered anytime soon but for a Calcasieu Parish Police Jury employee mowing the grass, which gets cut twice a year.
Prosecutors believe one reason Hammons was killed was because he knew too much about at least one other person who had disappeared or been killed.
Prosecutors are using cell phone data to try to establish that Lopez and associates were involved in a criminal enterprise that included meth distribution and murder.
The defense attorney spoke to jurors reminding them Lopez is innocent unless proven guilty by the state.
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