This is a disturbing but important story of a fatal case of child abuse. It is the case of baby Briana Lopez, who was abused from birth by both parents and other family members. We as a nation must make cases like these nonexistent.
This story has strengthened my desire to work in the social service field. The reporter is Kim Vallez, and the copyright is by KRQE news 13, www.krqe.com
The mother of baby Brianna, Stephanie Lopez, was found not guilty on the charge of intentional child abuse resulting in death.
She was convicted of child abuse resulting in death and child abuse negligent permit.
She was found innocent of intentional child abuse, because she did not inflict the abuse but allowed it to happen.
Brianna's father, 22-year-old Andy Walters, was convicted of child abuse resulting in death, conspiracy, criminal sexual penetration and two counts of child abuse.
Uncle Steven Lopez was found guilty of child abuse resulting in death, conspiracy and criminal sexual penetration.
Paternal grandmother Patricia Walters and uncle Robert Walters were found guilty of failure to report child abuse.
Susana Martinez asked for the maximum punishment possible for all of them. Sadly, their sentences do not fit their crimes. It took a jury
of seven men and five women nine hours to find all of them guilty.
Andy Walters, the father, received a mere 57 years in prison and
her Uncle Steven Lopez received only 51 years for sexually abusing
and causing the death of Briana due to abuse and neglect.
Stephanie Lopez, her mother received a very short sentence of 27 years in prison for child abuse and neglect resulting in death. The
Jury decided that she was not guilty of intentional abuse since she
did not inflict the abuse but had allowed it to take place.
Briana's Grandmother, Patricia Walters and her Uncle, Robert Walters Jr each got off easy with only 60 days in jail for failing to
report the abuse and save Briana's life.
Keep in mind that prisoners usually get out much earlier than the sentences given, with good time, 20% of the sentence can be eliminated. There is also parole available.
As each guilty verdict was read, the Lopez and Watlers families
showed their emotions by embracing and crying. The only one of
the defendants to show emotion at that time was Steven Lopez who
is the twin brother of Stephanie, put his head in his hands and started to cry.
When the jury was dismissed and had left the court room, the
defendants then began to show their emotions by crying and
hugging their lawyers who tried to console them. Stephanie and Steven were allowed to hug eachother and cry before being lead out of the court room by guards.