Accused killer ‘devastated' to learn he'd been duped by high school girlfriend

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The man accused of driving to Dallas to kill his high school girlfriend's husband in a murder-for-hire plot took the stand in his own defense Thursday.

Prosecutors said 49-year-old Darrin Ruben Lopez had been having a torrid love affair with his high school ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Faith, and that he drove to Dallas from his home in Tennessee to kill her husband.

Jamie Faith, police said, was gunned down on Oct. 9, 2020, as he and his wife walked their dog near their Dallas home, a day after their 15th wedding anniversary.

Defense attorneys said Darrin is a veteran who suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq and that he'd been duped and manipulated by his ex into believing she was being abused by her husband and that only then did he agree to the plot to avenge her.

You know, at the time I was thinking I was the noble soldier that did my job. I did what I was trained to do. I protected people. I kept them from a monster.

Accused killer Darrin Lopez says of murdering Jamie Faith

Shortly after noon on Thursday, the state rested its case. Lopez's defense then began presenting their case at about noon.

Lopez, who was sworn in Thursday morning after his attorneys told Judge Brandon Birmingham that he planned to testify in his own defense, took the stand at about 12:30 p.m. and answered questions about his relationship with Jennifer Faith, the murder and his military service for nearly four hours.

Lopez told jurors when he got into his truck and drove from Tennessee to Dallas he went into "military mode" and was on a mission to save his girlfriend and her daughter from a man who he thought was an abusive husband.

Lopez, who detailed his years as a medic in the U.S. Army Special Forces, described in detail shooting Jamie Faith and said he wanted to be sure the man didn't suffer even though he thought he was a monster who was abusing his wife.

"Being a medic, treating people on the battlefield, the human body can take a lot of damage and still live. I did not want Jamie to suffer, even though, in my eyes, he was a monster, I did not want him to suffer. So I approached, and I fired the rounds into his head. By training, you know, should have only been two. It end up being three," Lopez said.

Jennifer Faith pleaded guilty in February 2022 to orchestrating the murder-for-hire plot and enlisting Lopez's help, admitting she manipulated him into believing her husband was sexually and physically abusive through graphic emails and text messages she sent from her account and fake accounts in the names of her husband and a worried friend.

Lopez's defense attorneys said Jennifer Faith knowingly took advantage of an emotionally vulnerable and disabled combat veteran with a traumatic brain injury and PTSD.

Recalling how he felt after learning the abuse was a charade, that the allegations against Jamie Faith were untrue and that his ex-girlfriend was behind it all, Lopez broke down into tears.

"I was devastated," Lopez said. "I took an innocent life."


During prosecutor Brandi Mitchell's blistering cross-examination, she questioned Lopez's claims about how he was duped into believing his ex-girlfriend was a victim of repeated sexual assault but continued to exchange steamy, erotically charged messages with him.

Mitchell asserted the murder was all part of a violent fantasy playing out and pushed back on Lopez who said he blindly trusted his ex-girlfriend. She also had doubts about the incredible messages he was receiving alleging abuse.

"She's telling you that her husband and her have not had sex in four years and that within weeks of meeting you all of a sudden, he's gang-raping her with Jeremy. That didn't seem strange to you?" Mitchell said.

Lopez answered, "No, it did. But at the time I got into the picture, Covid hit, he's laying off people. I had seen good men break before. That's what I thought had happened."


Following Lopez’s testimony, his defense called Dr. John Fabian, a certified forensic and clinical psychologist, to testify about his mental and physical health.

Fabian’s work includes evaluating members of the military and he evaluated Lopez leading up to the trial.

Fabian reviewed U.S. Department of Defense medical records pertaining to Lopez and testified that Lopez appears to have ‘latched on’ to the memory of his high school girlfriend, especially during his military deployments, even though they had not been in touch in over 20 years.

Fabian found it “odd,” “unhealthy,” and “bizarre,” how quickly Lopez escalated his feelings for Jennifer Faith after rekindling a relationship.

Lopez’s mindset became, “threatened and alarmed,” after receiving messages alleging she suffered violent rape encounters, including gang rape, at the hands of her husband, according to Fabian.

“There is a fear with this and he’s not wanting Jennifer to be harmed in any way,” said Fabian.

The doctor testified Lopez’s list of solutions in the situation was limited, adding, “It’s a man on a mission,” said Fabian.

Prosecutor Mitchell had Fabian admit that while “thousands and thousands of people suffer from PTSD, not many go out and commit murder.”

However, on redirect, Lopez’s defense asked Fabian: "Would this have happened if Jennifer Faith had not pushed 'his buttons?'"

Despite an objection by the prosecution, the judge allowed the doctor to respond.

“No,” responded Fabian.

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