Victims testify at home-invasion, armed robbery trial
By Jim Newton email@example.com | @JimNewton5 October 22, 2013 4:14PM
Updated: November 24, 2013 6:37AM
Two women who were duct-taped and robbed at knife point in their Park City home 14 years ago tearfully testified about their ordeal Tuesday during the trial of Sandra Lopez, who was charged with home invasion and armed robbery in the 1999 case before she fled to El Salvador.
Lopez, formerly of the Gurnee area, was a fugitive in the case until she was arrested in March by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Bloomington, Ill.
According to prosecutors, Lopez and Lizeth Dominguez allegedly conned their way into a mobile home in the 3500 block of Howard Street by telling the residents they were health inspectors with the city before attacking and robbing the women.
Dominguez was sentenced to six months in jail in October 1999, and ordered to pay restitution for the medical bill of a victim, and a portion of the value of the stolen jewelry.
Lopez, meanwhile, was believed to have fled to El Salvador.
She faces up to 30 years on the home invasion and armed robbery charges and has been held in Lake County Jail on a $1 million bond since her capture.
The two women, sisters-in-law who lived in the Park City mobile home where the robbery occurred, testified separately Oct. 22 as the trial got under way.
One of the two women identified Lopez in court and cried as she said she still has nightmares and wakes up in the middle of the night “seeing her face.”
“Now that I’m looking at her, it seems like yesterday, the way she looked at me with hate,” she said.
According to the first witness, who suffered a serious cut on her hand in an initial struggle before both victims were bound with tape, one of the women held a knife to her head while the other put tape over her mouth, eyes, hands and head.
The second victim, speaking through a Spanish interpreter, said she was seven months pregnant at the time and one of the women pointed a knife at her stomach to get her to comply. She said she was bound with tape on her face, head, hands and legs.
The victims said the two women first came to the home in the morning when the husband of one of the women had not yet left for work. They said they were with Park City and would return when the residents were less busy. After the man left the home, the women returned, entered the home and pulled knives out of their purses. The second woman testified the attackers also had gloves but she was unsure when they had put the gloves on.
Chris Lombardo, defense attorney for Lopez, said in opening statements that no DNA matching Lopez was found on the tape that had been used to secure the women.
The second woman to testify said that after she and her sister-in-law were taped up, the intruders rifled through the house and she could hear things being broken. She said after they left, she used her teeth to help free her sister-in-law from the tape, and that they then called the police.
Missing from the home, she said, were jewelry boxes containing rings and other items belonging to the occupants.
The woman who was cut was treated at the hospital after the robbery. The women said they identified the intruders from pictures shown to them at the Park City Police station.
One of the victims said that her husband told her later that one of the two intruders worked at the same restaurant that he did and had asked him about his work schedule prior to the robbery.
Prior to the home invasion charges, Lopez had been charged with stabbing her husband to death in September 1995. She maintained she stabbed her husband in self-defense, and was acquitted by a jury, although prosecutors said that she had changed her story to police several times.
Her husband, Isaac, 44, was killed Sept. 15 at his Highwood restaurant, Mexico Lindo.