MSN.com reports that the Utah Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for Komasquin Lopez, who is currently serving a 16-year-to-life prison sentence for the murder of his wife, Shannon Lopez. He claims she died by suicide, and the court found that his conviction was a result of at least partly an unreliable expert testimony. It was also found that the trial court made an error when allowing evidence of prior bad behavior into court, including pointing his gun at his wife in a past incident.
Defense attorneys argued that Lopez and his wife got into an argument in December 2013 over her use of meth. Medical examiners claim she took a toxic amount of the drug. Lopez says that they agreed to separate, and his wife was going to take the kids with her to her dad’s house. He then says he heard a noise and turned to see her slumped over in her seat in the car.
Lopez crashed the car while driving her to the hospital, and a gun was found inside. His wife had been shot in the left ear intentionally. Lopez’s lawyers said that she had threatened suicide in the past and sent text messages saying she wanted to die and had even threatened to shoot herself.
Prosecutors brought a psychologist to testify that she didn’t die by committing suicide, using a theory that had no information on how effective it is.
Utah Supreme Court justices found that the doctor used for this testimony had not cited any peer-reviewed scientific research regarding the efficacy of the theory he used to determine whether it was a suicide. They also found that past incidents of Lopez pointing a gun at his wife included a time when they were demonstrating to a co-worker how to kill someone. Such an incident is not similar to the crime committed, according to the court.
* Photo credit LawNewz, Inc.