Convicted killer Gerard Lopes was supposed to be sentenced Thursday, less than a month after being found guilty of murdering his adoptive mother. But a judge postponed his decision because he wants to read more letters from the victim's family and friends. The victim's daughter Brianna Belmonte and sister Michaela Teixeira spoke in court.
What will happen to Gerard Lopes remains unknown. The convicted killer was supposed to be sentenced Thursday, less than a month after being found guilty of murdering his adoptive mother.
Lopes killed his mom, 43-year-old Natalie Belmonte, more than two years ago. Her bludgeoned body was found near her Pembroke Pines home.
A judge postponed his decision because he wants to read more letters from the victim's family and friends. In court Thursday, he heard from three.
First, 22-year-old Brianna Belmonte, the victim's daughter, read a letter. Then, Belmonte's brother-in-law read a latter from her son. He was not able to read it himself. Last, Belmonte's sister, Michaela Teixeira, chocked back tears as she read her letter.
Part of it said: "I'm not only speaking of my pain, but the pain I feel for what Natalie endured - knowing she dying and who was killing her, her son... I never worried because she was always beside me, protecting me, and I believe she is here today... I stand here today as Natalie's protector and her defender."
In September, Lopes was found guilty of second degree murder. Belmonte's family is asking the judge to sentence him to the maximum penalty which is life behind bars. The sentencing was moved to Oct. 16.