DENVER -- Jason Wood, the man accused of shooting Denver Police Sgt. Tony Lopez Jr. multiple times in 2015, was sentenced to 52 years in prison Friday after pleading guilty last week.
At the sentencing hearing Friday, a number of people addressed the court on behalf of Lopez, the oldest of five siblings.
One sister read a statement and two others had statements read on their behalf. They called him their protector, “Superman” and described the lengthy recovery they saw Lopez suffer through after they feared he might not survive.
His father, Cmdr. Tony Lopez Sr., also read a statement. After the shooting, he described feeling guilty that his son had chosen to follow in his footsteps -- that serving his community might cost him his life.
All those who spoke said Wood is a career criminal who has repeatedly shown a disregard for human life.
Lopez addresses court
Lopez addressed the court with his wife by his side. He said he does not forgive Wood, noting his “cowardly action” and “frivolous attempt to kill him.” He thanked his family and his fellow officers, including the officer who applied a tourniquet to his leg that saved his life after the shooting.
As a result of that, he said all Denver police officers are now equipped with the tourniquet. He said he was grateful to Wood for bringing his family closer together.
He noted one of his favorite holidays is Christmas. He was in the hospital recovering from the shooting last Christmas, and he said he is looking forward to enjoying the next 52 Christmases with his family, unlike Wood.
During the sentencing hearing, some new information came to light regarding what happened the night of Dec. 8.
Lopez said it started out like any other day. He conducted a traffic stop and before he could get out of the car, he said Wood shot at him six times.
He managed to shoot Wood in the ankle. Prosecutors said Wood fled and later carjacked a woman at a bank, then barged into a home and pistol whipped two homeowners before being taken into custody.
Prosecutors also noted a sharp object was discovered in Wood’s jail cell. He was on a crutch, recovering from the gunshot wound to his ankle, and they said he had taken a piece of the crutch to sharpen a makeshift knife, which he hid in his cell toilet bowl until it was discovered in April.
It was also revealed Wood said the explanation for his actions in December was a fear of having to go back to the Department of Corrections.
In the courtroom, the judge asked Wood if he had any comment. He only replied: “No ma'am.”
His attorney raised two issues. She said the car Wood had been driving when he was pulled over by Lopez belonged to Wood’s mother. It was seized as evidence and has been held since the shooting, resulting in impound fees in excess of $3,000.
His attorney requested the impound fees be waived so Wood’s mother could get her car back. The judge said a motion could be filed to discuss the matter further.
Wood’s attorney also raised questions about a request for restitution. A status hearing regarding restitution was set for 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 2 with a follow-up hearing scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wood waived his appearance for that hearing.
The judge said they can all agree there is no amount of time that can compensate for what happened to Lopez. She sentenced Wood to 52 years, the agreed upon sentence, noting the Lopez family would avoid having to go through a lengthy trial.