Defense demands exhumation of corpse in Laredoed murder

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In April, defense lawyers filed a motion for the exhumation of a body for the man accused of killing a family of four last year.

Samuel Enrique Lopez, 21, was arrested in April 2020 in connection with the death of Zayra Marlen Fuentes, 33; Lesly Sarahy Hernandez, 18; Pedro Cruz, 12; and Julian Saracho, 2.

Lopez is charged with two murders, one for harming a child and one for aggravated sexual assault on a child.

Webb District Attorney Isidro Alaniz is calling for the death penalty.

Kimberly Gonzalez, Lopez’s attorney, filed an application for the exhumation or exhumation of a body on April 21 stating that the defense team had concluded that the results of Webb County Medical Examiner Dr. Corinne Stern are flawed and unreliable.

The federal ordinance states that the removal of remains is only permitted for compelling reasons and must be carried out under the supervision of an authorized representative.

“DR. Stern completed her examination on April 17, 2020, as documented in her report …”, it says in the application. “In her report, Dr. Stern documented an injury to the liver as well as a bruise and injuries to the anus. Stern cited the death as a murder caused by asphyxiation. The body was then released from the coroner’s office to be buried in the Calvary Catholic Cemetery. “

The motion adds that the defense attorney hired a doctor who is an expert in the field of forensic pathology to review Stern’s autopsy and alleged results.

“Said expert determined that the injury to the liver alleged by (the medical examiner) Stern was postmortem and was likely caused by the ME itself when it performed the autopsy,” the application said. “In addition, when he looked through the photos and documented the autopsy, there was no finding of an anal trauma.”

Defense attorneys add to the motion that during their investigation of the autopsy, they learned that Stern “made false and unreliable results from previous autopsies.”

“It is well documented that in at least one case in which ME Stern performed the autopsy, the state of Alabama has brought charges of murder against a person based on their documented findings,” the motion states. “After further verification it was found that these results were incorrect and subsequently canceled. These charges were dropped after the defendant was imprisoned for several months for a crime she did not commit. “

In this capital murder case, the state is bringing charges against Lopez based on Stern’s findings, the motion states.

“The harm that Mr. Lopez could suffer would be irreparable if the jury were allowed to make decisions based on flawed, unfounded or fabricated evidence,” the motion said. “DR. Stern’s results appear to contradict the physical evidence in this case.”

The hearing of the application is scheduled for Wednesday in the 406th District Court.

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