A man serving time for a beating that partially paralyzed an off-duty Oklahoma City police officer made a tearful apology to his victim Friday before a judge refused to shorten his prison sentence.
“I wish this never happened,” Cadmio Antonio Lopez told officer Chad Peery in an Oklahoma County courtroom. “I ask your forgiveness, please.”
A tearful Lopez, his lip quivering, apologized to Peery and Peery's father, who was with his son the night he was assaulted outside a northwest Oklahoma City bar.
Lopez never hit Peery but kept the officer's father and others from intervening while one man put Peery in a headlock and another man punched him repeatedly in the head.
The beating left the officer, who uses a wheelchair, with a broken neck.
“To me you're just as guilty,” Peery, 35, told Lopez. “What you did that night altered my life forever. You will never understand what I've gone through the last two years and will struggle with for the rest of my life.”
Lopez's attorney asked Oklahoma County District Judge Kenneth C. Watson to give his client the same sentence as the co-defendants in the case, even though Lopez previously rejected a plea offer made by prosecutors.
The judge denied the request after Peery addressed Lopez.
“I will not (change) the sentence as long as Mr. Peery feels the way he does,” Watson said. “I'm not of the mind to change what I've already done.”
Lopez, 33, of Newcastle, pleaded guilty in November 2011 to assault and battery by means of force likely to cause death.
He was sentenced in January 2012 to 15 years in prison and 15 years' probation.
2 others made deals
Co-defendants Jimmy Don Smith, 30, of Tuttle, and Joshua Bernard Rinken, 30, of Norman, made deals with prosecutors and pleaded guilty.
Each received 10 years in prison and 10 years' probation as punishment.
Peery was assaulted late Feb. 15, 2011, while trying to escort customers out of Dan O'Brien's Public House at the request of the bartender.
Prosecutors said Rinken put the officer in a headlock, injuring his neck, and Smith repeatedly punched the officer in the head.
Don Jackson, Lopez's attorney, said prosecutors are punishing his client because he rejected a plea agreement and later changed his mind.
In February, a judge denied a request by Lopez to withdraw his guilty plea, a ruling upheld by the state Court of Criminal Appeals.
“He took his chances and pleaded guilty, was sentenced, and now wishes he had taken the original offer,” First Assistant District Attorney Scott Rowland said.
“It's that simple.”