Homicide Defendant Awaits Jury’s Verdict

Jury deliberation is underway in the homicide trial of Ulises Lopez following counsels’ closing arguments on Oct. 12.

Lopez, 21, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, firearm use in a violent crime, illegal possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm as a minor, having a loaded handgun on his person, and having a loaded handgun in a vehicle.

His co-defendant, Jerry Cruz, testified against Lopez last week after accepting a plea, which was not discussed during the day’s proceedings.

One of Lopez’s defense attorneys, Akiva Gross, said the jury had not yet reached a verdict as of the late morning on Oct. 13.

On Tuesday, defense attorney Michael Baruch, who also represents Lopez, told the jury that the prosecution has to take down a brick wall “brick by brick” in order to prove Lopez’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to counsel, Lopez and Cruz were allegedly driving along the 400 block of S. Lehigh Street around 3:30 p.m. on March 16, 2020, when Lopez approached 28-year-old Sergio Jones and shot him multiple times, killing him, before running back to the car and driving away with Cruz.

Baruch highlighted that no firearm was ever found and that Cruz accepted a guilty plea just before the start of the trial.

The prosecution reiterated that a witness saw only one person fire a gun, later identified as Lopez, and then saw Jones fall to the ground.

“It will be clear to you once the trial is over that Ulises Lopez is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” the prosecutor said.

Jury deliberation began Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, the prosecution called its final witness to the stand, a homicide detective who oversaw the case. The detective said he arrived on the scene shortly after the shooting and was informed by a patrol officer that police found Jones with multiple gunshot wounds.

Police conducted interviews with a 911 caller, later identified as Cruz, and two eye witnesses. Evidence also included video surveillance, Lopez’s fingerprints from the exterior of the car and on a pill bottle containing marijuana, as well as a cell phone.

The detective testified that a witness identified Lopez in a photo array and that Cruz was interviewed by police a day after the shooting. During the interview, Cruz did not initially provide any information but later shared details of the shooting.

Charges were later filed against the two defendants.