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September 2, 2014

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Courts:

18 months after attack, family still bears physical, emotional scars

Father of five sentenced for attempted murder of wife, son

Click to enlarge photo

Mario Alejandro Lopez

Maria Robles almost bled to death at the hands of her husband on her 31st birthday.

She fell on the knife, her husband told the judge.

“It’s hard to get stabbed nine times by yourself,” Clark County District Judge Michael Villani said last week when he sentenced Robles’ husband, Mario Alejandro Lopez, to 84 years in prison. Lopez was convicted in November of seven felony charges, including two counts of attempted murder, for crimes related to the terror-filled night in July 2012 when Lopez’s attempts to win back his wife and family failed.

Lopez won’t be eligible for parole for roughly 32 years.

Lopez, 39, spoke at length using a Spanish interpreter about his shame, his drug addiction and about how unfairly he was being portrayed in court by prosecutors.

“I am not a monster,” Lopez said. “I cannot believe (the prosecutor) is exaggerating so much, abusing so much of his power.”

Robles, also speaking through a Spanish interpreter, chastised her husband’s overtures about the difficulties of battling addiction.

“He says it was all just because of the drugs, but his violent nature wasn’t just the result of drugs,” Robles said. “He was always like that, but the drugs did make it worse.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Frank Coumou was terse. Lopez should be ashamed to be a man, a husband and a father, Coumou said.

The crime that landed Lopez behind bars was the culmination of years of abuse that generated a thick stack of stomach-churning Child Protective Services records, according to Coumou.

For example, when one of Lopez’s children lost an iPod, the father pressed the child’s hands to the burners on the stove, Coumou said.

Such episodes led Robles to seek a protective order to keep Lopez away from her and their children.

In July 2012, about three months after Lopez and Robles had separated, Lopez tried to convince his wife to let him visit. When she said no, he broke into the house. Lopez stabbed his wife nine times and their oldest son at least twice.

Lopez ran out of the house after the stabbing, Coumou said, and Lopez’s other children shut the door while a live-in babysitter dialed 911. Outside, the father banged on the windows, yelling, “Let me in! Let me in! We are all going to die as a family.”

When he couldn’t get his way, he slit his wrists on the patio in an attempt to take “the easy way out,” Coumou said.

“By the way, he did a lousy job at it because he is here today,” Coumou said in recapping the grisly scene for the court.

When officers arrived, the home was soaked in blood and the mother and son were critically injured. Officers found Lopez’s four other children — ages 14, 12, 8 and 4 — screaming, crying and shaking in fear, according to the arrest report.

Robles, who faces additional surgeries to repair her wounds, told the court her husband had permanently damaged her family, not just physically but financially and psychologically, as well.

Lopez’s attorney, Kambiz Shaygan-Fatemi, a deputy public defender, told the judge he believed his client was sorry, though, perhaps, it might not sound like it.

After sentencing Lopez, Villani took the time to leave the defendant with an image the judge remembered vividly from the trial: a scar on the arm of Lopez’s son.

“He’s going to wear that badge for the rest of his life,” Villani said.

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