A former Springfield man is in a Missouri prison for the murder of two girls in 1996. Freddy Lopez, now in his late 40s, was sentenced to death for killing the girls and their companions at a party at his home. He has been on death row for more than 20 years. Now, his attorneys are attempting to get his conviction overturned.
In the early hours of January 1, 1995, Freddie and Kerry Lopez held a small New Year’s Eve party at their house in Verona. Several guests became intoxicated, including appellant Brandon Hutchison. During the party Hutchison punched another guest, Jeremy Andrews, for no apparent reason. At some point, the Yates brothers—Brian and Ronald—arrived at the home. The men began arguing about how much alcohol Kerry was drinking. They then left the party with Michael Salazar and Hutchison. When the three men returned to their car they decided to dispose of the victims’ bodies. They stuffed the brothers in the trunk of Lopez’s white Honda Accord and drove away.
A friend of the brothers named Troy Evans was called to testify against the men, but he committed suicide before trial. Lopez testified that Hutchison shot the brothers on the road. He also said that Salazar shot the brothers in the head. But Hutchison’s attorneys have argued that Lopez concocted his testimony to protect Salazar and improve the odds of a plea agreement. This argument was not considered by the court in its decision affirming the convictions and sentence.