NASHUA, N.H. — A man sentenced in New Hampshire to mandatory life in prison without parole as a teenager more than 20 years ago for killing a man was resentenced Tuesday to at least 45 years, with a chance at eventual release.
Eduardo Lopez Jr., 43, was convicted of fatally shooting Robert Goyette in 1991 while trying to steal his car in Nashua. He was 17 when the crime happened.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 2012 ruling that found it unconstitutional to sentence juvenile offenders to mandatory life imprisonment without parole. The New Hampshire Supreme Court had ruled in 2014 that Lopez and others convicted of murder as teenagers should receive new sentencing hearings.
Judge Larry Smukler on Tuesday ordered that Lopez become eligible for parole in about 18 years, at age 62. The state had asked for Lopez to stay in prison for about another 25 years.
Lopez’s lawyers had argued that any minimum sentence exceeding 35 years was a de facto life sentence without parole, but the judge disagreed.
There have been no changes to state law regarding juvenile offenders following the Supreme Court rulings. Juveniles can still be certified to stand trial as adults, but they’ll no longer automatically be sentenced to life without parole for crimes that carry that sentence.
Other cases up for resentencing include Robert Dingman, who shot his parents in 1996; Robert Tulloch, who pleaded guilty to the 2001 killing of two Dartmouth College professors; and Michael Soto, who was convicted of first-degree murder for the 2007 death of a Manchester man.
Steven Spader, who was nearly 18 when he killed Kimberly Cates in Mont Vernon in 2009, was resentenced to life without parole in 2013 after he refused to attend his hearing or authorize his attorneys to argue for a lesser sentence.
This story has been corrected to show that Steven Spader was already resentenced to life without parole, not that he was up for resentencing.