On August 23, 43-year-old Leonel Lopez Jr. suffered a fatal gunshot wound to his throat; now, 22-year-old Demarcus Finley of Kalamazoo will stand trial for open murder and other charges, according to a news article at Mlive.com.
District Judge Anne E. Blatchford ordered Finely to stand trial after hearing witness testimony on Tuesday October 22. Finley allegedly shot Lopez in the neck during an incident that began at Howard’s Party Store on Portage Street in Edison, then continued as those involved left in cars, according to Vianka Walton’s testimony. Walton is Lopez’ sister.
The two men were allegedly engaged in an ongoing feud, and saw each other by “happenstance” at the party store. Walton’s two children and a niece sat in her car in the parking lot as she got money and her brother purchased beer. The defendant then allegedly walked into the store with three children and his girlfriend. After going out into the parking lot, Walton testified that her brother asked Finley if he was “the one who shot up his mom’s house.” Finley didn’t answer, and Walton and Lopez got into her car and began pulling out of the parking lot. By this point, the defendant had three other men with him according to Walton.
Walton claimed in court that from that point, she drove on and was later turning onto Race in Stockbridge when a beer was thrown at her Chevrolet Impala by one of the men she had seen with Finley at the party store. She testified that in the following moments, Finley shot and killed Lopez.
News reports indicate that Lopez and Finley along with their family members and friends in their respective vehicles continued arguing as they were driving their vehicles, and that upon stopping in the 1400 block of Race Street, a fight broke out not only between the deceased victim and the defendant, but passengers in both vehicles as well.
Finley was ultimately charged with one count of open murder, possession with intent to deliver marijuana, two counts of felony use of a firearm, and felon in possession of a firearm. News reports do not indicate when Finley’s trial is scheduled to begin.
While all of the charges against the defendant are serious, a charge of open murder may leave Finley facing a lifetime in prison if convicted. In Michigan, when an individual is charged with open murder it simply means that the “degree” of murder is left up for the judge or jury to decide. Regardless, it is an extremely serious offense that requires the legal guidance and support of an aggressive defense attorney. An experienced lawyer is frequently able to have the charges against his or her client reduced, so that the penalties the client faces are less severe.
If you have been arrested or charged with open murder, homicide, voluntary manslaughter or any serious or violent offense, it is critical to your freedom and future that you obtain the services of a skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney.