A man accused of traveling from Tennessee to Dallas to murder his ex-girlfriend’s husband claims he was manipulated into the shooting.
Darrin Ruben Lopez took the stand on Thursday morning to explain why he allegedly gunned down Jamie Faith, the husband of Lopez’s high school girlfriend, in October 2020, NBC 5 DFW reported. Lopez testified that Jennifer Faith — his high school girlfriend with whom he had been having an affair — told Lopez that her husband was sexually and physically abusing her, and that prompted the murder.
When Lopez learned that Faith had not been assaulted and instead was manipulating him, he broke down on the stand, saying, “I took an innocent life.”
Jennifer Faith was charged with obstruction of justice in February 2021 for plotting the murder and was sentenced to life in prison, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.
The prosecution wrapped up around noon on Thursday, and Lopez took the stand for nearly four hours explaining his military training and his relationship with Faith. Prosecutor Brandi Mitchel questioned Lopez about how he could exchange sexual content with a woman he thought was being abused.
“She’s telling you that her husband and her have not had sex in four years and that within weeks of meeting you all of a sudden, he’s gang-raping her with Jeremy. That didn’t seem strange to you?” Mitchell asked Lopez.
Following the questioning, Dr. John Fabian was called to the stand to comment on Lopez’s mental state. After reviewing records of his contact with Faith he said he found it “odd” and “bizarre” how quickly Lopez formed a deep attachment to the former girlfriend.
When asked if Lopez would have responded in this manner had Faith not provoked him, Fabian simply said, “no.”
Lopez’s defense team claimed Faith used Lopez’s veteran status and traumatic brain injury as a means to manipulate him into murdering her husband. Lopez claimed he felt like he was on a mission to save Faith and her daughter from the alleged abuse.
“You know, at the time I was thinking I was the noble soldier that did my job,” he told the court, according to NBC 5. “I did what I was trained to do. I protected people. I kept them from a monster.”
According to court testimony, Faith told Lopez that Jamie had violently raped her and also instigated a gang rape with another man. She used emails, texts, and fake accounts from “worried friends” to send Lopez graphic depictions of the alleged abuse.
“I did not want Jamie to suffer, even though, in my eyes, he was a monster, I did not want him to suffer,” Lopez told the court, per NBC 5. “So I approached, and I fired the rounds into his head. By training, you know, should have only been two. It [ended] up being three.”
The murder happened in Dallas City Council District 1, represented by Council Member Chad West. There have been 151 homicides so far this year in Dallas, up 9.42% from the same time last year, according to police data.
A recent City analysis found that the Dallas Police Department is facing a significant staffing shortage and is currently short about 900 officers for a city of this size. Other cities in Texas, including Fort Worth, have implemented dedicated units to patrol their downtowns and have seen significant drops in the rate of offenses in these high-crime areas since implementation.