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Posted on: August 24, 2023

Commonwealth v. Letty M. Lopez

Norfolk Mother Convicted of Contributing to the Delinquency of 6-Year-Old Son Who Brought Gun to School

NORFOLK, Va. – On Thursday, 36-year-old Letty Marie Lopez was convicted in Norfolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court of contributing to the delinquency of a minor following a February incident in which her son brought her revolver to Little Creek Elementary School.

The first-grader brought the handgun to school on Feb. 16, 2023, and told one of his classmates that he had it. The classmate then told their teacher, who searched the child’s bookbag, found the weapon, and contacted school security. Norfolk Police reported to the school office, cleared the gun, and interviewed the child and Ms. Lopez. Under Virginia law, the child was too young to be criminally responsible and was not charged. Police charged Ms. Lopez with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a Class 1 misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail.

Witnesses testified at the bench trial on Thursday morning that Ms. Lopez often left her son home alone and that she was known to always possess at least one firearm in her home or on her person. Ms. Lopez denied leaving her son home alone that February morning but said she had recently started a new job and had to leave home earlier than usual, and she could not recall whether she had properly locked the firearm in her bedroom safe. It remains unclear why the child brought his mother’s gun to school that day or how he was able to retrieve it.

Judge Bruce C. Sams found Ms. Lopez guilty as charged. The Commonwealth requested that Ms. Lopez serve an active sentence, and Ms. Lopez’ defense counsel requested that the Court defer the case, place Ms. Lopez on probation conditions, and ultimately dismiss the case.

Judge Sams sentenced Ms. Lopez to 60 days in jail and suspended that sentence on the conditions that Ms. Lopez complete one year of uniform good behavior and forfeit the revolver for destruction.

Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Michelle Newkirk prosecuted Ms. Lopez’ case on behalf of the Commonwealth.

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