3-year sentence for fatal Steamboat Springs fight
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – A Florida man was sentenced to three years in prison for the death of a Fort Bragg, N.C. soldier after a fight outside a Steamboat Springs bar.Eduardo Capote was sentenced Friday in Routt County District Court after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in April. Prosecutors said Capote punched 37-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Richard Lopez outside a downtown Steamboat Springs bar on January 2009. Lopez fell and hit his head on the pavement and died days later.Authorities said the fight happened because of an argument over a jukebox song. Police said Capote and his friends and Lopez and his friends confronted each other outside of the bar.”I don’t believe anybody in this courtroom believes for a second that you intended to cause the death of this young man, but you did,” said Judge Shelley Hill. “Whatever your reasons were for striking Mr. Lopez, they were senseless.”Capote, of Miami, was tried in February and acquitted of third-degree assault, but jurors were deadlocked on more serious assault charges. The case had been set for a retrial in May, but lawyers reached the plea agreement.Capote’s brother, David Capote, was also tried in February for third-degree assault for his role ion the fight and acquitted.Eduardo Capote declined to address the court during sentencing. He reached over the courtroom railing after the hearing to say goodbye to his daughter and family.His attorney said the was confident they could’ve won a retrial but that Eduardo Capote’s plea agreement would allow him to move on with his life and guaranteed a shorter jail sentence than if he had been convicted.In a statement read in court, Lopez’s sister, Mary Ventura, said she blamed the Capote brothers for Lopez’s death. “You are the reason my brother is no longer here,” Ventura’s statement read.She also recalled the time she spent with her brother at the hospital.”I sat with him four solid days hoping and praying the Lord would spare his life,” she said.—Information from: Steamboat Pilot & Today, http://steamboatpilot.com/
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