By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
"Everything was dismissed against him," Patricia Lopez told the Weekly. "But on Aug. 22, I got a call from [a] detective saying they wanted to talk to George. I wanted to go in and see the questioning, but I was six months pregnant. The officer said George wasn't under arrest." Patricia Lopez added that her husband brought George to the station and asked police if he could be present during the interrogation of their son, "but the officer told him, 'No, no, no, this is between me and George. We just want to bring this to a conclusion.'"
Before long, Lopez found himself a lead suspect in the May 17 robbery. There was never any physical evidence linking Lopez to the crime—other than his fateful decision to accept a ride from Long, whose car contained Santacruz and the sawed-off shotgun.
"Everybody else in the car booked it," Patricia Lopez added. "But George, having his receipt and being innocent, walked up to the police officer to ask what's happening, and they treat him like a criminal. He could have walked the other way, and they never would have noticed. But he had nothing to hide."
Patricia can't understand why prosecutors have failed to interview Santacruz about his statements that he, and not her son, committed the May 17 robbery. She hopes the September hearing will allow robbery witnesses to tell the court George Lopez is innocent.
"What more do they want?" Patricia asked, referring to the Orange County district attorney's office. "What more can the witnesses themselves do? They have said numerous times that it's not George who robbed them. They have even signed written statements saying it's not him. We're talking about his life here. I just want my boy home."