FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The fate of a Pembroke Pines man accused of killing his adoptive mother is in the hands of a jury.
Early Monday evening prosecutors and defense attornies finished their closing arguments in the case against Gerard Lopes.
They will begin deliberating Tuesday morning. Investigators said, in July 2011, Lopes raped, beat and suffocated his mother, 43-year-old Natalie Belmonte in their Pembroke Pines home.
Then, they said Lopes put her body in the trunk of her car and dumped her in a marsh close by.
Judge Matthew Destry ruled Monday that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove rape so he denied the prosecution’s efforts to have the jury decide whether sexual battery should be considered.
Prosecutors said Belmonte was killed after attending a graduation party with Lopes. Surveillance video captured the two shopping for beer and wine before the party.
Lopes was in shorts and those same blood stained shorts were found in a dumpster.
Police said the two had a confrontation in her bedroom.
“She fought for her life until she couldn’t fight anymore,” said assistant state attorney Adriana Padron.
The defense opined that the two were in an improper relationship and suggested a jilted boyfriend of Belmonte was the real killer.
“He sees them having consensual sex and how might he react,” said defense attorney Jose Reyes.
Lopes has pleaded not guilty.
The jury will consider first degree, second degree murder and manslaughter.