FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – With a somber look on his face, Gerard Lopes, also known as Gerry, walks into the courtroom greeted by the angry and sad faces of family and friends who loved his mother Natalie Belmonte, the woman he was accused of raping and beating, and convicted of killing and dumping her body in a Pembroke Pines swamp.
“Gerry has done nothing but cause trouble, harm, pain and suffering to my family,” said Brianna Belmonte, the victim’s daughter.
Natalie’s daughter Brianna, Gerry’s sister, spoke with such passion at his sentencing hearing it brought him to tears.
“My mom is gone and I’m a 22-year-old woman who is lost trying to figure out my place in this world” she said.
This is the first time we’ve seen tears from Lopes.
Again Lopes eyes watered when an uncle read a letter in court, a letter written by his brother Aiden.
“The last thing I expected was him, Gerry, my own brother and her own son, to do that, especially to her,” said Andre Teixeira
Prosecutors claimed Natalie Belmonte was raped, beaten and suffocated in her bedroom after she and Lopes returned from a party two years ago. Surveillance video shows what investigators believe is Lopes loading his mother’s body into her car, then driving off to dump it. Natalie’s sister pleaded with the judge to remember the brutal facts while considering his sentence.
“I have sat through this trial with the knowledge that Gerry has shamelessly lied to my sister,” said Michaela Teixeira, adding, “has brazenly robbed my sister before and after her death, has viciously beaten my sister, has violently raped my sister, has brutally murdered my sister.”
The family, and friends who sent 86 letters, hoped to hear the judge hand down a life sentence. Instead, they were told they’d have to wait another week to find out.
“I want some time to digest all this information,” said Broward Circuit Court Judge Matthew Destry. He plans to announce his sentence on October 16.
Lopes could face life in prison.