Woman who 'flipped out' on police had reason, lawyer says

Jessica Marie Lopez

Jessica Marie Lopez had caught her boyfriend cheating just minutes before she "flipped out" and assaulted two Lancaster city police officers in 2009, her lawyer told a judge.

Lopez struck the officers and spit on them after she discovered her boyfriend in bed with another woman, according to testimony Tuesday at her sentencing hearing.

"She flipped out and did these things to the officers," attorney Jeff Conrad said in court. "Is there any justification? No, there is not."

Lopez, 23, will spend the next 23 months under county supervision. She'll serve at least 3 months on house arrest and the remaining time on parole.

County Judge James Cullen warned her that a violation would mean a trip back to prison.

Lopez, wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt and black slacks, told the judge, "I was at a bad period in my life. I had sort of a mental breakdown. I regret what I did that day. It's not going to make the officers feel any better, but I'm sorry."

Lopez was a federal witness in a drug-dealing case against her ex-boyfriend, Kevin Major, her attorney said. Major, formerly of Lancaster city, will spend more than a decade in federal prison, according to court documents.

"She shouldn't have been a part of his life, but she was," Conrad said.

In early August 2009, Lopez caught him cheating, according to testimony. Lopez responded by smashing his car, Conrad said.

Police arrived, and Lopez assaulted them, it was said in court.

She kicked and spit on Officer James Boas, then scratched and struck Detective Heather Halstead with a belt before spitting on her, according to testimony. Lopez also assaulted the officers in a holding cell at the city police station, police said.

When Cullen asked Lopez if that version of events was true, she said yes.

Cullen told her that she had faced more than 35 years in prison for the crimes. Conrad and prosecutors arranged the plea deal.

bhambright@lnpnews.com