Family of murdered man continues fight for justice

By: Matt McGovern Email
By: Matt McGovern Email
The Lopez family decorated Billy

William "Billy" Lopez

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (WOAI) - Three green balloons floated high into the sky on Sunday afternoon.

The color symbolized William "Billy" Lopez's favorite shade and the number represented the amount of years since his murder.

"It's been a nightmare. My family has not been the same since," Lopez’s mother Sodelva Lopez said.

It was August 18, 2011, when police said a group started fighting at a northwest side bar. The group left and ended up at a nearby apartment complex and that's where police said things quickly escalated, leaving one man run over by a car and Lopez, 22, shot dead in the back seat of another car.

Hours later Victor Padilla was arrested accused of firing shots into the car and killing Lopez. Lopez’s family said the Bexar County District Attorney dropped the charges since Padilla claimed self-defense.

Lopez’s family said a grand jury later found enough evidence to indict the Padilla, but the charges were dropped again just as the trial was scheduled to begin.

"The person that did this to my son, I've forgiven him," Sodelva said.

Still, Sodelva and her daughter want to see justice for their son and brother.

"It's been very hard. It affected my whole family,” Teresa Lopez, Lopez’s little sister, said. “To know that the guy who shot my brother is out and free it just really hurts me because I think that he shouldn't be out and free if he knows he killed somebody."

Teresa was barely a teenager when she lost her brother.

"I just miss seeing him every day and him coming through the door smiling. We would always pick on each other. I just miss his presence,” she said.

The Lopez family decorated his grave with some of his favorite things, as they hug and support each other on the third anniversary of his death.

"Nobody will know what I'm going through unless you've walked my shoes," Sodelva said.

The grieving mother sat graveside, listening to David Guetta and Usher’s song “Without You.” It was the first song she heard after she found out her baby boy was dead.

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