Sentencing scheduled for convicted murderer

Gerard Lopes convicted in Natalie Belmonte's murder


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A man convicted of killing his adoptive mother is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.

Last Thursday, Broward Circuit Court Judge Matthew Destry rescheduled sentencing for Gerard Lopes, who jurors convicted of killing Natalie Belmonte. He was charged with first-degree murder, but jurors opted for a lesser charge of second-degree murder.

Prosecutors said Lopes, 23, raped Belmonte, then killed her to cover it up. Lopes' attorneys argued the two had consensual sex.

Belmonte was last seen on July 16, 2011. Three days later, police found her body in a wooded area a few miles from her home.

Second-degree murder is punishable by life in prison.