By IVY BROWN and TIFFANY SMITH
DALLAS (Court TV) — Hours after finding a Tennessee man guilty of murdering his girlfriend’s husband in Texas, the same jury returned a unanimous verdict sentencing Darrin Ruben Lopez to 62 years in prison.
The jury deliberated for nearly four hours in the penalty phase of the trial, which was held immediately following the guilty verdict. Jurors deliberated for just over one hour on Friday morning before finding Lopez guilty.
Lopez was charged with murder in the October 2020 death of American Airlines technology director James Faith. Lopez was in an emotional relationship with the victim’s wife, Jennifer Lynne Faith, according to federal prosecutors.
Investigators said Lopez fatally shot James as he and Jennifer walked their dog in their Dallas neighborhood. Detectives traced a black Nissan Titan spotted at the scene to Lopez’s Tennessee home.
An investigation revealed Jennifer had deceived Lopez into believing that James was physically and sexually abusing her. She pleaded guilty in February 2022 to a federal murder-for-hire charge and was ultimately sentenced to life in prison.
At her sentencing, Jennifer admitted to manipulating Lopez, who “suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq, leaving him disabled.” She said she sent Lopez money and gifts, and used “stock images depicting injuries from the internet” to convince the defendant she was being abused by James.
Lopez and Jennifer had been dating for seven months when James was killed, according to federal prosecutors. In an arrest affidavit, Jennifer described their relationship as “a full blown emotional affair.”
In addition to 62 years in prison, the jury recommended Lopez be fined $10,000.
DAILY TRIAL UPDATES
DAY 4 – 7/28/23
- The jury hears closing arguments
- The jury reaches a verdict
- The jury recommends Lopez be sentenced to 62 years in prison
DAY 3 – 7/27/23
- Prosecutors rested their case-in-chief Thursday morning.
- Darrin Rubin Lopez testified in his own defense, saying that he was “outraged to learn that Jennifer sent him fake emails and texts pretending to be her husband and friend.”
- WATCH: Darrin Lopez Takes Stand in Boyfriend Hitman Murder Trial
- Rubin said that he decided late on Oct. 8, 2020, to drive to Dallas and “take out the threat” to Jennifer Faith.
- Rubin said that he was aware he would be caught after the murder.
- Jurors heard from defense expert witnesses — a mobile device expert and a forensic and neuropsychologist.
- Jennifer Faith’s high school ex-boyfriend testified that she once asked him to testify about an incident in which she asked him to harass another former boyfriend.
DAY 2 – 7/26/23
- Bullets from Lopez’s Smith and Wesson gun matched the bullet fragments retrieved from Jamie Faith’s body.
- The fake email accounts used to communicate with Darrin Lopez were created on April 9, 2020.
- Jennifer Faith stopped emailing Darrin Lopez and closed the fake email accounts she created using her husband’s name, Jamie Faith, and her coworker, Rob Schmitt, on September 4, 2020.
- Jennifer Faith, in the past, tried to convince a former boyfriend to assault her current boyfriend.
- After Jamie Faith’s murder, Darrin Lopez and Jennifer Faith communicated in December 2020 about removing the “T” sticker from the back of his pickup truck.
DAY 1 – 7/25/23
- Jamie Faith was shot seven times and suffered injuries to his head, chest, and groin, which the defense said the shot to his groin was due to Lopez allegedly believing that Jennifer Faith was being sexually abused by her husband.
- Jurors heard audio from a neighbor’s Ring Doorbell of the shots that killed Jamie Faith and his wife, Jennifer, screaming hysterically after the murder.
- Between June 24, 2020, and January 11, 2021, there were 2,344 phone calls, 268,844 text messages, and 10,808 multi-media messages between Jennifer Faith and Darrin Lopez.
- Bullet casings found at the scene microscopically match those from a .45 caliber Smith and Wesson used in the murder of Jamie Faith.
- ATF Agents located a Smith and Wesson gun with the victim’s blood on the barrow inside Darrin Lopez’s Tennessee home.
- Jennifer Faith wrote to Darrin Lopez while in jail on October 19, 2021, after she pleaded guilty in Federal Court, claiming she sent Lopez emails from a fictitious account.