SAN ANTONIO – After years of legal wrangling and many competency hearings, Joshua Lopez formally entered his plea Monday to capital murder charges stemming from the shooting of Elmendorf Police Chief Michael Pimentel on Aug. 23, 2014.
“How would you like to plead, guilty or not guilty?” 226th District Court Judge Sid Harle asked Lopez.
“Not guilty by reason of insanity, your honor,” Lopez replied.
Lopez was accused of shooting Chief Pimentel to death during a traffic stop He'd pulled Lopez over to arrest him on a warrant accusing him of writing graffiti.
When it was later learned that Lopez had mental competency issues, the district attorney opted not to seek the death penalty.
Several competency hearings followed over the years until the plea agreement was finally reached on Monday.
“The court, according to the evidence in this case, will find you, pursuant to the law and having no choice in that regard, not guilty by reason of insanity,” Judge Harle said.
Following the sentencing, Patricia Pimentel-Gonzalez, Chief Pimentel’s sister, was allowed to address Lopez.
“In my eyes you are the lowest person in my world and I will go to my grave making sure that you stay put,” she said, glaring at Lopez.
“There is nothing (more I want than) for you to live a horrible life. Horrible,” Pimentel-Gonzalez added.
Lopez was ordered to Vernon Hospital, a hospital for the criminally insane, for “an indeterminate amount of time."
If he is ever determined to be sane, he would be released.
Prosecutor Josh Somers said the possibility of that ever happening is “highly unlikely.”