A decorated U.S. Army veteran asks Governor Greg Abbott to reduce his 62-year sentence for the murder of his high school sweetheart’s husband. He insists she lied to him about violent abuse, and says he believed he saved her life.
Darrin Lopez, 51, was convicted in July of fatally shooting Jamie Faith, 49.
Lopez, who was divorced and lonely during the pandemic on his farm outside Nashville, reached out to his former high school sweetheart Jennifer via LinkedIn.
They began communicating regularly and Lopez said he fell in love with her again.
Jennifer, a speech therapist, and her husband, an IT director at American Airlines, had been together for 15 years and had a teenage daughter.
Lopez insists she never intended to split them up, but Jennifer “confessed” that her husband was violent and extremely abusive, and sent Lopez emails about her injuries.
It later emerged that she staged them — lies that Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Calvert of the Northern District of Texas called “some of the most sadistic things you can imagine.”
Darrin Lopez, 51, was sentenced to 62 years in prison for the shooting death of Jamie Faith in October 2020. He wants his sentence reduced and insists he believed he acted to save Jennifer Faith’s life.
Jennifer and Jamie Faith were married for 15 years and had a teenage daughter. She was a speech therapist and he worked in IT for American Airlines
Lopez was convinced by Jennifer to drive to their Dallas home and shoot and kill Jamie, 49, on October 9, 2020, while he and Jennifer were walking their dog.
CCTV footage from the Ring Doorbell shows Jamie and Jennifer Faith leaving the house together for the last time.
Speaking from prison, Lopez said NBC Dateline that he thought he was acting to save Jennifer.
“Was it hard to pull the trigger?” asks host Josh Mankiewicz.
Lopez, who retired after six deployments to Iraq, had won a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, and suffered a traumatic brain injury, responded, “Well, yeah. I mean, it wasn’t like being on a mission in the military.
‘But I had the same mentality.
“I did what I had to do to protect Jennifer.”
Emails between Jennifer Faith and Lopez, obtained by NBC News, revealed that Lopez wanted to report Jennifer’s abuse allegations to Jamie’s employer, American Airlines.
He also tried to persuade her to go to the police.
But she refused, saying she didn’t want their daughter to lose her father and that reporting him would only make the abuse worse.
“She also told me she would say there’s nothing wrong,” Lopez said.
“She would deny everything to the police.”
Jennifer Faith and Darrin Lopez are pictured at their high school prom
Jennifer Faith is interviewed by Dallas police
The couple’s home, outside of which James Faith was shot on October 9, 2020
CCTV footage from the Ring Doorbell shows Jamie and Jennifer leaving their home with their dog
Shortly after leaving the house, Jamie Faith would be shot by Lopez
Lopez said Jennifer told him Jamie was aware of their conversations via email and phone, and that he had spiraled into a jealous, violent rage.
Lopez received text messages, he said, that appeared to be from Jamie threatening to sexually assault his wife and even drown her.
The text messages urged him to drive 10 hours from Nashville to Dallas.
“If I didn’t do something, she was going to die,” Lopez said.
‘I made that promise there.’
Lopez shot three bullets into Jamie’s head and then tried to make it look like a robbery by taking Jamie’s wedding ring, hitting Jennifer and tying her hands.
Lopez then fled the scene in his pickup and drove back home.
Jennifer, meanwhile, begged for answers about who killed her husband, insisting the gunman approached from behind and she had no idea.
Lopez was arrested in January 2021 and Jennifer Faith was arrested a month later.
Jennifer Faith is seen in her mugshot when she was arrested in February 2021
Lopez’s attorney, Juan Sanchez, said it took him six months to convince Lopez that Jennifer had made up the allegations.
Lopez said he was devastated when he learned of her lies.
“When I was arrested, I went to jail believing I had saved Jennifer” and her daughter, he told “Dateline.”
‘The thought never crossed my mind that she could use me in this way. I believe she loved me.”
Lopez apologized to their teenage daughter and said he could never forgive himself for killing Jamie.
But he worked with prosecutors to “lock her up,” he said.
In February 2022, Jennifer Faith pleaded guilty, and was later sentenced to life in prison.
Lopez believes his work to help prosecutors convict her was not sufficiently understood at his sentencing.
And he said he was used as her tool to get rid of her husband.
“I became her weapon,” he said. ‘I understand that.
‘The real criminal is in prison for life. I helped her there.’