Stephanie Lopez, who was handed a 27-year imprisonment sentence in 2003 following the death of her five-month-old daughter Brianna Lopez (known as Baby Brianna), is being released from jail.
Stephanie’s release comes because of good behavior after serving a little over half of her original sentence.
According to the authorities, Stephanie was arrested for not doing anything to stop the sexual assault that Brianna’s father, Andy Walters, and uncle, Steven Lopez, inflicted on the baby. Stephanie let the assault and abuse go on. She served almost 13 years in prison afterwards. Now, due to good behavior, she is released from prison.
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However, a Change.org petition has called for denying the parole of Stephanie.
“Considered the worst case of child abuse in the United States, a little baby girl named Brianna Mariah Lopez, was brutally raped, sodomized, bitten, beaten and thrown for her entire, tiny, little life,” the petition, which can be read in its entirety here, said.
“At only 5 months old, on the day of July 19, 2002 in New Mexico, her body finally succumbed to the torture and pain she endured.”
As reported by KOB, Stephanie will be on supervised parole in another state.
In a statement, Secretary of Corrections Gregg Marcantel said, “This case sent shockwaves through the entire community. Baby Brianna was horrifically tortured, raped and murdered, and we all want the monsters who took part in this brutal crime to face justice.”
As a result of the case, Brianna’s Law came to effect; under which, child abuse resulting in death could lead to a maximum sentence of life in prison.
“We want to show the New Mexico parole board that we don’t think Stephanie Lopez should be released early due to good behavior in prison,” the petition said. “We know that we can’t force her to do more time than she was sentenced, but hope that the parole board will see our protest and know that we don’t want to let her out early, that good behavior behind bars does not mean she should be released early into our society.”
Governor Susana Martinez, who prosecuted Lopez, issued a statement concerning the release of Stephanie.
“The fact is, the law at the time allowed these child killers to receive a much lighter sentence than what they deserved,” Martinez said, adding that when she prosecuted Lopez, “I sought the full measure of justice. Sadly, the law on the books was too weak, and as a result, she gets to do something Baby Brianna never had the chance to do: walk freely.”