FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – As his murder trial moved into a second day, Gerard Lopes listened intently to crime scene specialists who presented a mountain of evidence prosecutors believe link him to the crime.
Lopes is charged with killing his adoptive mother, 43-year-old Natalie Belmonte, in July 2011.
According to prosecutors, the popular Pembroke Pines realtor was beaten and strangled to death and her body was dumped in a wooded area not far from her house.
Broward Sheriff’s Office Detective Richard Engels, a crime scene specialist for 30 years, said he was called to a shopping center to examine items found in a dumpster back in July 2011.
Engels testified he found several bags of blood-stained clothing and other items that prosecutors believe Lopes discarded after killing his mother.
“There was a polo shirt, towels, sheets and pillowcases,” said Engels.
Engels also showed a picture of a blood-stained pair of striped shorts that match the shorts prosecutors said that Lopes was wearing in surveillance video taken before the murder.
Detective Engels also presented photos from a nature preserve near Belmonte’s home where her body was found days after she disappeared.
“Her body was badly decomposed from insects and the skin was starting to discolor,” Engels told the jury.
Another crime scene specialist, Detective Sherry Grant, testified that she found an overwhelming amount of blood stains in Natalie Belmonte’s bedroom and bathroom.
Lopes pleaded not guilty to murder. If convicted he is convicted, he faces life in prison.