Victims Believe Burglary Case is Appropriate Application of Three Strikes

By Charmayne Schmitz

Mario Lopez appeared in Judge Reed’s courtroom for sentencing on Tuesday, September 30. The burglary at 31 College Street on March 10, 2014, is only one of a spree of crimes this defendant was accused of. Today’s charges consisted of seventeen counts of burglary and possession of a firearm, enhanced by the fact that Lopez was out on bail at the time of the incident. The home was also set on fire, but Lopez was not charged with arson.

Victims of the crime stood up to tell the defendant why the destruction of their family home was so painful. The first daughter briefly described the crime. The home was “ransacked” and set on fire, her “childhood home in ashes on the ground.” Personal belongings of their dead mother were stolen or destroyed, so it was like losing “my Mom in another way.” Her father was robbed of the “comfort of returning to his wife’s home.”

The second daughter presented a longer but very poignant speech. She began by mentioning that she would like to educate people who think Lopez’s sentence will be too harsh. She described Lopez as a “self-entitled criminal who thought it would be fun to ransack your home.” There was no money, only items that had the value of remembrance. Paintings and artwork created by their dead mother were destroyed. Jewelry with only sentimental value was stolen or burned. Trash was left on the hot stove and metal was heated in the microwave to ensure the fire would be effective. The defense that Lopez used against arson was to shift the blame, saying that “someone else walked by and set the fire.” The daughter told the defendant she would like to know the nice Mario, but she only knows “the one who doesn’t care.”

Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Palumbo told Judge Reed that there are “a lot of victims” and many more burglaries. She is not done prosecuting the other cases. Then Judge Reed sentenced Mario Lopez to a total of 22 years in federal prison, with restitution fines of almost $20,000.

Click here for previous coverage of Mario Lopez on the Vanguard

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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  1. South of Davis

    Charmayne wrote:

    > The home was also set on fire, but Lopez was not charged with arson.

    Any idea why he was not charged with arson (I bet I would be charged with arson if I set a Davis home on fire)?

    I’m fine sending this guy (and anyone else who is breaking in to homes and setting them on fire while out on bail) to jail for a long time (maybe he can share a cell with Marsh after he turns 18)…

    1. Barack Palin

      “The defense that Mario used against arson was to shift the blame: “someone else walked by and set the fire.”

      What a coincidence, this criminal is robbing their house but some random arsonist just happened to pass by about the same time.

  2. Robin W.

    Just curious – Did he have prior convictions (if so, for what), or are the burglaries that were charged at the same time considered the other strikes?

  3. tribeUSA

    These are precisely the kind of criminals 3 strikes was designed for; and I’m glad he got the 3rd strike for this atrocity. He got off lucky with just the $20,000 restitution; if the house burned down there is likely 10-20-fold more damages than this. Given the callous and asinine (vicious?) nature of the burglary; I don’t understand why an arson investigation wasn’t thoroughly conducted and charges also pursued; given the type of character that would commit a burglary like this it seems beyond credibility that someone else happened by about the same time to set off the fire that he had prepared the kindling for. Ugh, I don’t want guys like this around the neighborhood!

    1. Tia Will


      “These are precisely the kind of criminals 3 strikes was designed for”
      Assuming that his first two strikes were for crimes of equal or similar nature, I would agree with you. This kind of lack of repentance demonstrated repetitively would seem to be enough justification for isolation of the perpetrator for protection of the community.

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