MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A man’s statement to police after he allegedly disemboweled his girlfriend for yelling another man’s name during sex will be allowed at his murder trial, a judge ruled Thursday.
Investigators said Fidel Lopez admitted to becoming a “monster” when his girlfriend Maria Nemeth called him by her ex-husband’s name during sex back in September 2015.
Police said he went on to admit he disemboweled her.
After the murder, Sunrise Police arrested Lopez, interrogated him, and read him his rights.
Lopez’s defense attorneys argued that Lopez’s comments from the police interview should be tossed out because English is not Lopez’s first language and he did not fully understand what police were asking him.
But prosecutors said Lopez clearly understands English because he spoke English on the 911 call at the crime scene and on the interrogation video when he admitted that Nemeth called out another man’s name after a night of tequila drinking and rough sex.
In a series of police interrogation videos released to CBS4 News, Lopez is heard talking to police about what happened that night.
“She changed my name,” he said. “She called me the name of the other (expletive) guy. And she said it twice and she was wrong and she was confusing me with him. At that point, I get mad,” he said. “I get really, really mad.”
Defense attorneys also questioned whether police properly read Lopez his rights and why they didn’t read them to him in Spanish.
Judge Ilona Holmes ruled from the bench that Sunrise Police acted appropriately.
“Nothing I saw on this tape shows me that the defendant did not freely and voluntarily waive his right to an attorney or to even speak,” said the judge.
The judge’s ruling means that jurors will hear Lopez’s words to detectives in the hours after Nemeth was mutilated and Lopez said his mind went blank and he lost control.
“I wasn’t thinking, man,” he said in the video. “I wasn’t thinking.”
Also up for discussion was a request from Lopez’s attorney to keep pictures and video of the gory scene from the jury.
“In this case, the photos and the video is extremely graphic. We don’t want the family to relive some of the photos and video and there are other witnesses, law enforcement, the medical examiner who were on the scene who can provide that testimony without exposing the jury to that trauma,” said Defense Attorney Melisa McNeill last week.
Prosecutors released crime scene video taken after the murder. The video shows the apartment, an open bottle of tequila, sliced limes, a smashed sliding glass door and a hole in the wall. It also shows an extremely bloody crime scene, especially in the closet.
Lopez is being held in jail without bond on charges of murder and sexual battery.
Lopez’s trial is set to start February 13th.
Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against Lopez, but because Florida’s death penalty was ruled unconstitutional last year there are reports that the judge is preventing prosecutors from pursuing it in this case.