Shawn Lopez: Did he kill homeless woman for a thrill, then buy chewing tobacco (74)
Update: We've been covering the switchblade murder of homeless, wheelchair-bound Francis Reade near an Aurora shopping complex; see our original items below. Now, however, info from a police report has surfaced that makes what was obviously a senseless act seem even more gruesome and horrible. The document quotes Shawn Lopez, who's been arrested for the crime, as implying he killed Reade more for a creepy thrill than the money he stole from her -- a handful of change he spent on chewing tobacco.
The account of 21-year-old Lopez's action comes from the Aurora Sentinel, which obtained a police report for Michael Snyder, twenty, who's facing accessory charges in the slaying for allegedly helping Lopez cover up the crime.
On April 27, according to the Sentinel, Lopez spotted Reade, 67, in front of a liquor store that's part of a shopping complex on the 15000 block of East Colfax. During an interview conducted after he'd already been in custody for a few days, he reportedly said he then pushed the elderly woman behind the main center, anchored by a King Soopers, with the intention of robbing and killing her.
He's said to have been armed with a switchblade in the shape of a gun. It's not clear from the police document if the weapon has been discovered, but the Autoknife.info website features photos of several vintage items that fit this description. Here's one....
...and here's another:
The idea of taking a life with a blade apparently appealed to Lopez. He's quoted as saying, "I like knives, just because it takes a real crazy, sadistic motherfucker to walk up to somebody and just stab them. Because you're up close and personal. And you know that you're the last face that person is ever going to see in their pathetic little life."
As Lopez wheeled her behind the center, Reade is said to have asked where they were going. He told her not to worry about it, but she was right to be concerned. Lopez told police that he stabbed her in the neck, then took the coins from her purse and went to a gas station in the vicinity. He had just enough to buy some chew.
Afterward, he headed to a residence where he lived with three others, including Snyder, who's accused of helping Lopez bleach the switchblade. Snyder insists that while he knew Lopez had stabbed someone, he didn't know he'd committed murder. He adds that Lopez had gotten into an argument earlier that day and erupted in rage.
This gas station near the scene of the crime may have been where Lopez purchased chewing tobacco with his small robbery haul.
He'll have plenty of time to cool off. He's being held at Adams County Jail without bond. Snyder, for his part, is scheduled in court on May 23.
Continue for our previous coverage of Francine Reade's tragic death.