A Lakewood man is facing 20 years behind bars after being convicted of attempted murder in the stabbing of his roommate, authorities said.
An Ocean County jury found Marco Tulio Alvarez Lopez, 35, guilty Wednesday, according to Prosecutor Joseph Coronato.
The stabbing took place Aug. 23, 2014, when Lakewood police officers found the victim, Mario Vasquez, on his hands and knees in front of the shared Laurel Avenue home house, bleeding profusely from his abdominal area. Officer Kevin Seunath found out at the scene that Vasquez had been stabbed by his roommate, who was identified as Alvarez Lopez.
Vasquez was taken to Jersey Shore Medical Center where he underwent immediate surgery for life-threatening injuries. Vasquez’s treating surgeon testified at trial that the surgery was necessary to save Vasquez’s life.
Back at the scene, officers canvassed the area for suspects and collected evidence, according to an official account. Detectives from the Prosecutor’s Office and Lakewood police learned that earlier that evening, Vasquez’s roommate was upstairs in their shared bedroom with a friend drinking. When Vasquez entered the room to change out of his work clothes, Alvarez Lopez asked him for $50. When Vasquez refused, Alvarez Lopez came back with a large kitchen knife and stabbed him.
Detective Stephen Capoano from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department’s Crime Scene Unit recovered the knife which was missing its handle and still covered in blood.
Alvarez Lopez was arrested a little over two hours later, after police found him sitting on the front steps of the shared residence, shirtless and covered in fresh wounds consistent with hiding in a wooded area much like the one behind the crime scene, authorities said.
Alvarez Lopez denied he was behind the stabbing.
In her closing statement, Assistant Prosecutor Jamie L. Schron argued to the jury that Alvarez Lopez had the purpose to kill when he took a deadly weapon and plunged it into an area of Vasquez’s body containing many vital organs and then left him alone, upstairs to die. Alvarez Lopez was represented by Assistant Public Defender Kelly Toner, who argued that Vasquez’s identification was unreliable.
Alvarez Lopez is facing up to 20 years in New Jersey state prison and must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole, the prosecutor’s office said. His bail was discharged upon the return of the guilty verdict and Superior Court Judge Patricia B. Roe ordered that he be held without bail pending sentencing.