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'Evil, Sociopathic Killer' Winks At News Camera Before Being Sentenced For Girlfriend's Death

Matthew Mercado will serve less than 20 years after taking a plea deal in the 2019 death of Jessica Lopez, whose body was never found.

By Gina Tron
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

The man who is responsible for the death of a beloved New York woman winked at a news camera shortly before a New York judge sentenced him to serve nearly 20 years in prison.

News 12 Hudson Valley noted that Matthew Mercado, 40,  winked at their news camera on Wednesday as he walked into Orange County Court. However, they noted that shortly after he tearfully apologized for the death of Jessica Lopez.

Outgoing Orange County Judge William DeProspo sentenced the Newburgh man—who had dated Lopez on and off — to 16 to 19 years in prison. While originally charged with murder in 2020, Mercado later took a plea deal, admitting to charges of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree burglary, and tampering with physical evidence, Law&Crime reports.

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Mercado has admitted to giving Lopez a fatal cocktail of drugs at Newburgh’s Windsor Motel in 2019; he didn’t call 911 when she overdosed. He also admitted to wrapping up her body in a bedsheet and discarding her in a dumpster behind a Price Chopper in town. Her remains were then traced to a landfill in Pennsylvania. However, her body was never found. The burglary charge pertains to Mercado breaking into a motel room and stealing bags from other people staying there.

Yessica Lopez Pd

The prosecution does not believe Mercado’s version of events, regarding how Lopez died.

“I believe 100% he killed her. I believe this was domestic violence,” District Attorney Dave Hoovler told News 12. “I don’t believe for a minute that the facts are what he says them to be. I believe this man is a sociopath and a liar, but we are stuck with what the evidence is.”

The news outlet notes that Mercado has a long history of domestic violence, against multiple women.

Orange County Judge William DeProspo told Mercado in court that he believes he is an unremorseful, “evil, sociopathic killer,” according to News 12.

Lopez’s father Ernesto Lopez called Mercado a cold-blooded killer in his victim impact statement.

“You’re not human. You’re evil and demonic,” Lopez read, according to News 12. “I hope every night you see my face and it haunts you.”

The grieving father told the outlet that Jessica was “a beautiful soul, and we miss her a lot. We are never going to forget about her."

Lopez, who also went by the name “Yessica,” used to work as a substitute teacher in Newburgh. Later she worked at a health clinic, but left that job to help take care of her father, who was sick, the Hudson Valley Post previously reported.

“By all accounts Jessica Lopez was a remarkable young woman and her loss is being severely felt by her family, friends, and many of her former students,” District Attorney David M. Hoovler said in a 2020 Orange County District Attorney’s Office press release.