ELKO – An Elko man will spend up to life in prison with the possibility for parole in 25 years for the home invasion murder of another man a year ago.
Tieres A. Lopez Sr., 24, was sentenced Wednesday in Elko District Court by Judge Nancy Porter in the death of Bradley Smith on July 7, 2018.
Smith died of multiple gunshot wounds after intruders kicked in the front door of his home on Wrangler Circle at about 11:30 p.m. and a gun battle ensued.
Lopez was arrested the day after and charged with first-degree murder, robbery with a deadly weapon and attempted home invasion.
On May 14, a plea agreement dropped the two lesser charges against Lopez in exchange for a guilty plea to first-degree murder, a category “A” felony.
A second suspect, Alan Joseph David Honeyestewa, 24, was arrested 10 days after the home invasion and was booked into Elko County Jail on charges of open murder and burglary while in possession of a gun or deadly weapon.
Honeyestewa’s case is expected to go to trial on Oct. 3.
Two other suspects identified by law enforcement were Taylor Robert Miller and Tyrell Mitchell Holley. They have not been charged in connection to the incident, said Elko County District Attorney Tyler Ingram.
During the sentencing hearing, Lopez spoke on his own behalf, apologizing to the victim’s family.
“I would just like to say my sincere apologies to the victim’s family and my family, of course, who is here today,” Lopez said. “Just let them know I’m sorry for what I did.”
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Two members of Smith’s family gave their victim impact statements as several other family members watched and cried.
“Every one of us who knew Brad has been given a life sentence,” said one family member. “We have to live the rest of our lives without a brother, without a son, without a father. Not a single day will go by that we are not impacted by this crime.”
Another family member said the people in the courtroom were there “because an individual made a choice that affected people beyond himself.”
“There are no words that can reverse the choices that were made that day,” he added. “There’s only moving forward, hopefully.”
Before handing down Lopez’s sentence, Porter said the grief from Smith’s and Lopez’s families sitting in the courtroom was “palpable.” She added that for everyone involved in the situation, including the families of both men, “there is no such thing as closure.”
“All I can do is hand down a sentence and hope that you are all able to move forward, somehow, with your lives,” Porter said.
She went on to explain that she considered imposing a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. If she did so, it could give Lopez “the opportunity to back out of the plea agreement and go to trial, which could result in decades of litigation.”
“I want to spare the family that further sentence on their lives,” Porter said.
“There are no words that can reverse the choices that were made that day. There’s only moving forward, hopefully.”