A 33-year-old man in New Mexico will spend less than two decades behind bars after he admitted to kidnapping, torturing, and beating his onetime girlfriend to death with a golf club last year, prosecutors said.
Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Donna J. Mowrer on Monday ordered Thomas Lopez to serve a sentence of 18 years in prison — which includes a four-year habitual offender enhancement — for the slaying of Subrina Calderon.
According to a press release from the district attorney for Curry and Roosevelt Counties, Lopez pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder, kidnapping, and resisting, evading, or obstructing a police officer prior to being sentenced. Due to the seriousness of Lopez’s violent offense, the court mandated that he will be required to serve 85% of his sentence, which is just over 15 years.
Lopez was facing a maximum of 18 years on the kidnapping charge, 15 years on the murder charge, and 364 days on the evading charge in addition to the habitual offender enhancements.
Prosecutors say that Roosevelt County sheriff’s deputies on Feb. 24, 2022, responded to a call from Roosevelt General Hospital regarding a woman — later identified as Calderon — who had been brought in with a plethora of serious injuries after having been “kidnapped, beaten, battered and struck with a golf club multiple times.”
“The victim later succumbed to her injuries that were sustained by Lopez beating her with the golf club,” the release states.
Court records obtained by ABC affiliate KAMC provided additional details regarding the brutal crime.
The documents reportedly state that Lopez was the person who dropped Calderon off at the hospital, telling staff that she had fallen down the stairs. However, Calderon — who was in and out of consciousness — reportedly told doctors and nurses that Lopez had been “hitting her with golf clubs, bit her on the ear and punched her with closed fists.”
The two had been in an “on and off relationship for the past year” before things took a turn for the worse, with Calderon telling authorities that for about the last month, Lopez had been prohibiting her from leaving his home located on Roosevelt Road 6, and eventually wouldn’t even “let her leave a room,” KAMC reported.
The situation continued to escalate, with Calderon reportedly telling police that when she attempted to call her father, Lopez was able to stop her because he had installed audio and visual surveillance equipment in the vents of the home. Authorities say he then beat her and used the cord of a lamp to strangle her while yelling, “Shut up. You did this to yourself.”
In a final act of cruelty, Calderon reportedly told police that Lopez forced her into a barn on the property and tied her to a chair inside. He then began to punch her in the head before grabbing a golf club and hitting her numerous times “with full force,” according to KAMC.
It was only when another woman was reportedly able to convince Lopez that he had to bring Calderon to the hospital that she was able to escape. Prosecutors said Calderon later “succumbed to the injuries that were sustained by Lopez beating her with the golf club.”
Authorities say that when they went to arrest Lopez, they found him hiding inside a ventilation shaft inside the residence on Roosevelt Road 6.
The Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to messages from Law&Crime inquiring about the seemingly lenient sentence Lopez received after pleading guilty to numerous violent crimes.
In an email to Law&Crime, Lopez’s attorney, Megan Mitsunaga, explained that she and her client reached a deal with prosecutors for the 18-year sentence after “extensive negotiations.” She also denied that Calderon died as a result of Lopez beating her with the golf club, asserting that the victim was not properly treated by doctors.
“Ms. Calderon was not beaten to death, she suffered soft tissue injuries in this matter which were survivable, but unfortunately she did not receive the treatment her injuries called for,” Matsunaga wrote. “My client also brought her to the hospital for treatment, another factor which I believe mitigated his final sentence.”
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