Originally sentenced to life without parole, resentencing means former Nashua man could be free at 62By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
January 30. 2018 1:16PM
NASHUA — A former city man sentenced to life in prison when he was a teenager could be free in less than 20 years after a judge issued him a lesser sentence Tuesday.
Eduardo Lopez, Jr., 43, was one of four New Hampshire convicts allowed new sentencing hearings after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders.
Tuesday, Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler resentenced Lopez to 45 years to life in prison for shooting and killing Robbie Goyette during an armed robbery in 1991.
Lopez was 17 when he was arrested; he was convicted two years later for first-degree murder, robbery, first-degree assault and attempted first-degree assault and was sentenced to life without parole.
"After considering the record, the nature and circumstances of the underlying crime, the characteristics of the defendant and the traditional sentencing factors, the court imposes a sentence of 45 years to life," Smukler said in his ruling on Tuesday.
According to the ruling, Lopez could be released when he is 62 — in about 19 years. He has has spent nearly 27 years in prison, according to court records.
Court documents state that both parties urged the court to look at life expectancy tables when reaching a new sentence, although the parties disagreed as to which life expectancy estimate is most appropriate.
Smukler ruled that the new sentence will give Lopez a meaningful opportunity for release at the age of 62.
" … In today's society, it is not unusual for people to work well into their seventies and have a meaningful life well beyond age 62 or even at 77," Smukler wrote.
After the 1991 murder, testing showed Lopez had a blood-alcohol content of .16 during the crime, according to court records, and could not remember some events from the evening because of his intoxication.
In 2015, Lopez unsuccessfully sought a new trial based on statements of former Police Chief John Seusing several years ago, when he served as a detective.
Lopez's attorneys argued that his trial "violated his constitutional rights because the state failed to disclose exculpatory evidence" that could have exonerated him.
Attorneys Pamela Jones and Paul Borchardt argued that Seusing, a witness at Lopez's trial, had committed a "prior bad act" that could have been used to impeach his testimony.
Judge Jacalyn Colburn ruled against Lopez at the time, claiming the state was able to prove Lopez's guilt on all of the charges based on the testimony of several witnesses — not just Seusing's testimony.