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Man with extensive criminal past facing new assault charges

SLAYTON -- Since turning 18, Martin Carlos Lopez, now 30 years old, has been charged with assault at least 10 times, and has pleaded guilty to the crime several times. On Monday, he is scheduled to make an initial appearance in Murray County District Court for new charges of felony domestic assault, terroristic threats, domestic assault by strangulation, false imprisonment and disorderly conduct.

According to the criminal complaint, Fulda Police Chief Paul Kenney was approached by a woman April 7 shortly before midnight. She stated Lopez had strangled and hit her, keeping her from leaving her trailer. She said things were fine between the two until they started to argue about a cable for the television. Lopez told their children to go to their room, then started to choke the victim, pulling her hair and telling her he was going to kill her, she said.

He allegedly stated he was not going to let her leave, as she was now his hostage, and punched her in the face. After several hours, he calmed down enough to let her leave with the children.

Kenney photographed the woman's injuries, noting the red marks, bruising and cuts.

The victim said she was scared for her life. Lopez, she claimed, is a member of the Latin Kings, and she is afraid he will make a phone call and someone will kill her.

"I informed (her) that she could get an Order for Protection, but I did not believe that would be enough," Kenney's report states. "I strongly encouraged (her) to take her family and move out of the area."

Kenney and two Murray County Sheriff's Office deputies went to the trailer to speak to Lopez, who denied arguing with or hurting the woman. He told Kenney the woman had come and gone from the trailer several times that day and did not have marks on her when she left.

Lopez was placed under arrest for felony domestic assault and transported to the Lyon County Jail. Kenney also found two active warrants for Lopez's arrest.

"This is not the first time the Fulda Police Department has arrested (Lopez) for domestic assault," the report states.

Lopez has an extensive criminal history, along with a past that includes many plea agreements in Nobles, Jackson and Murray counties. His first theft arrest was when he was 18 years old, and was soon followed by charges of underage drinking and assault. By the time he was 20, he had been arrested for criminal property damage, for which he was later sentenced to 15 months incarceration.

By June of 2004, Lopez had been charged in eight separate instances of driving after suspension. By March 2005, he was facing charges of assault and escaping from custody, and had been charged for being an ineligible person in possession of a firearm. In 2005 he was also charged with two instances of theft and receiving stolen property, and another assault and domestic abuse charge. In 2006, he faced another two counts of assault and had an 18-month sentence stayed.

Lopez faced drug sale and possession counts in 2007, and in 2009 was sentenced to 27 months incarceration for felony domestic assault.

On the new charges, an application for a public defender was filed last week.

Daily Globe Reporter Justine Wettschreck may be reached at 376-7322.