Tearful testimony in murder case of adoptive murder
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- The final decision in the fate of a South Florida man convicted of murdering his adoptive mother has been pushed back a week.
Gerry Lopes Belmonte arrived in court Thursday to learn if he would spend the rest of his life behind bars. Belmonte was convicted of beating to death and then dumping the body of his adoptive mother Natalie Belmonte.
"Not a day or thought goes by that she does not cross my mind," Natalie's daughter, Briana Belmonte said. "There are only so many home videos and pictures I can look at. I want to so bad just call her and run up to her and hug her."
As Belmonte speaks about her mother and how much her mother's smiles and laughs are missed, a single tear began to fall down the cheek of Lopes Belmonte.
The sentiment changed once Belmonte asked the presiding judge to assess the maximum sentence upon her brother. "Gerard Lopes is a liar, a thief, a rapist and a murderer, and I show absolutely no remorse for his actions," Belmonte said. "He has shown no remorse from what he stole from my family, no remorse from what he stole from family friends and neighbors and no remorse from when he killed and raped my mother. I asked you to give Gerard Lopes life in prison, just how he took my mom's life."
Natalie's sister, Michaela Teixeira, also became emotional when telling the judge how her sister was her best friend and above all, her protector. "Judge Destry, the rules have reversed," Teixeira said. "I stand here before you today as Natalie's protector and her defender. Gerry has shamelessly lied to my sister, has brazenly robbed my sister, before and after her death. Has viciously beaten my sister, has violently raped my sister. It is in your power to give him a life sentence."
When time came for Lopes Belmonte to hear his fate, Judge Destry reset the sentencing. "I want some time to digest," Destry said.
"The judge will do what's right and feel comfortable about doing what's right," Family friend David Eiglarsh said.
In taking time to consider the sentence, Destry referred to close to 100 letters that he has received in support of the victim against Lopes Belmonte. Destry said he wanted to read the letters before making a decision.
The decision is expected to be made Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.
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