Paramus, NJ Man Arrested After He Allegedly Murdered Mom with Boxcutter
A recent case in which a Paramus man allegedly murdered his mother with a boxcutter has prompted calls for stricter guidelines concerning mental health evaluations and treatment in New Jersey. The domestic violence homicide suspect is 30-year-old Jesus Lopez, who lived with his mother, 56-year-old Susana Lopez, at a home located on Spring Valley Road in Paramus, NJ. According to authorities, Lopez used a boxcutter knife as a weapon to slit his mom’s throat during a violent encounter. Afterwards, Lopez allegedly left his mother’s body in the home’s garage for almost two weeks while it decomposed.
On October 24, police discovered the victim’s body inside the house. The body was found by Paramus cops who were dispatched to the residence to conduct a welfare check. A social worker at Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ contacted law enforcement and requested the welfare check because she grew concerned after not seeing Lopez for more than a week. One of the responding police officers saw several flies inside the house and smelled a strong odor coming from the garage. Both Paramus police officers then entered the house and reportedly came across Lopez, who was in a catatonic state as he sat alone in a chair and stared at a wall. According to Bergen County prosecutors, Lopez spoke to the officers and said, “I killed my mother 13 days ago.” Lopez was subsequently arrested and charged with first degree murder. He is currently being held without bail at the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack, NJ.
NJ Mental Illness & Violent Crimes
Lopez reportedly has been involved in numerous domestic violence incidents in the past. Law enforcement officials indicated that Paramus police had been called to Lopez’s Paramus residence at least 14 times since June 1, 2015. Police recently released a 911 recording from one of those incidents. On the emergency call, Lopez’s mother tells a police dispatcher that her son was threatening to physically harm her. Another 911 recording released by Paramus police indicated that Lopez’s mother felt “anxious and scared” because her son was becoming “aggressive and scary.”
The many 911 emergency calls, and subsequent police visits to the Lopez residence, resulted in Lopez being admitted 22 times to the Bergen Regional Medical Center for mental health issues. The psychiatric hospital visits were mandatory because Paramus police believed that Lopez’s violent actions presented an imminent threat to his mother’s safety.
Given how tragically events unfolded in the aftermath of those psychiatric hospital stays, some observers are now asking: Why was Lopez allowed to leave psychiatric care and return home before his mental health issues and propensity for violence could be dealt with? A source who spoke to the media has questioned the effectiveness of the New Jersey legal system for allowing both Lopez and his mom to “fall through the cracks.” The reality is that mental illness is a serious problem in New Jersey and throughout the US, with authorities often struggling to help those individuals most in need of mental health evaluations.
The problem for mental health professionals was summed up by Joe Masciandaro, president and CEO of CarePlus in Paramus. According to Masciandaro, mental health facilities in New Jersey are required to release patients after a stay of 72 hours – unless doctors can clearly show that the patient poses a threat of violence to themselves or to others. Unfortunately, said Masciandaro, 72 hours just isn’t enough time for doctors to get a good handle on the patient’s mental health problems. This means that patients like Lopez are typically released after just 72 hours – sometimes with tragic results.
Free Consultation with Paramus Criminal Defense Attorney Who Defends Clients Against Violent Crimes
Travis Tormey is an experienced Paramus criminal defense lawyer who has successfully represented clients facing violent crime charges and domestic violence charges in New Jersey, including Bergen County, NJ. If you or a loved one has been placed under arrest and charged with a violent crime, such as murder, aggravated assault, or terroristic threats, you should contact the Tormey Law Firm immediately to schedule a free consultation.