Gerard Lopes Belmonte Trial Begins Without Mention of Alleged Rape of His Mother
Prosecutors in the Gerard Lopes Belmonte trial did not mention that he allegedly raped his adopted mother, Natalie Belmonte, before killing her, even though just last week, they claimed that DNA tests revealed that Lopes' semen was found in her body.
The prosecution certainly want jurors to know this, since they believe he murdered Belmonte, a Weston real estate agent, to cover up his raping her.
Broward Circuit Judge Matthew Destry is requiring the state to show that the sexual intercourse took place shortly before the murder, while Lopes' attorney has argued that the sex was consensual.
During the first day of trial on Monday, prosecutor Adriana Alcalde-Padron bypassed the claims of semen found in the victim's body and argued instead for the jury to focus on Lopes' suspicious activities.
Lopes has had a sketchy past, as well as mental-health issues. Shortly before the crime, he had been in jail for an unrelated incident. According to one report, he had told his fellow Broward County Jail inmates he had fantasies of killing his mother.
Belmonte, who was Lopes' first cousin, adopted him after his father died in 2000.
She vanished following a graduation party she and Lopes attended in Pembroke Pines in July 2011.
The following morning, Lopes told family members that Belmonte had disappeared. Police eventually found that her purse, cell phone, and keys were still in the house.
Belmonte's decomposing body was discovered three days later, dumped in a wooded area.
Eventually, investigators were able to find witnesses who reported seeing blood-stained sheets being carried away by someone from a dumpster.
Police soon found surveillance footage reportedly showing Lopes putting Belmonte's body in the trunk of her Lexus.
"He threw her away like she was garbage," Alcalde-Padron told jurors on Monday.
Lopes' defense, meanwhile, argued that he was drunk on the night of Belmonte's death and claimed there is no evidence that supports he was anywhere around when she was murdered.
While Alcalde-Padron did not mention the DNA tests that supposedly found Lopes' semen in Belmonte's body, that doesn't mean it won't come up later in the trial.
The judge had previously ruled that the DNA evidence found by investigators would be allowed in the trial.