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Posted on: September 13, 2022

Levittown Man Sentenced to Life in Prison without Parole for Brutal Murder of 73-Year-Old Woman

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Benjamin Lopez was convicted of viciously attacking a 73-year-old grandmother, killing her with a machete

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced a Levittown man was sentenced today to life in prison without parole for the vicious machete killing of a 73-year-old grandmother during a robbery at her Newbridge Road home in September 2017.

Benjamin Lopez, 27, was convicted on June 30, 2022, after a jury trial before Judge Fran Ricigliano, of Murder in the First Degree (an A-I felony); Murder in the Second Degree (an A-I felony); two counts of Robbery in the First Degree (a B violent felony); two counts of Burglary in the First Degree (a B violent felony); two counts of Assault in the First Degree (a B violent felony); Robbery in the Second Degree (a C violent felony); Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree (a D felony); and Criminal Possession of a Firearm (an E felony). The defendant was sentenced today to life in prison without parole.

“Benjamin Lopez was after one thing when he broke into a Levittown home five years ago: revenge,” said DA Donnelly. “Lopez, looking to steal a former friend’s money and drugs, took his rage out on Laraine Pizzichemi, hacking her to death with a machete in a fit of ruthless violence. Laraine was still weakened from a fight with pancreatic cancer when she was attacked, and unable to defend herself from Lopez’s blows. This vicious killer showed no remorse and will now pay for his crimes with a life sentence.”

DA Donnelly said, according to the charges, on September 13, 2017, the defendant and a co-defendant, Deangelo Gill, broke into a home on Newbridge Road in Levittown seeking revenge on the resident, Mark Depperman, and planning to steal his marijuana and money. Once inside the home, they encountered 73-year-old Laraine Pizzichemi, Depperman’s grandmother. Lopez then hacked Pizzichemi to death with a machete and Lopez and Gill went through the home looking for money and drugs. 

Depperman returned home while Gill and Lopez were still inside. The defendants began beating up Depperman and Lopez slashed at Depperman’s arms with the machete, causing serious physical injuries. Lopez also threatened Depperman with a handgun, demanding money from a safe. Depperman complied, and the defendants took cash and marijuana.

Depperman was able to call 911 before the phone was taken from his hand and broken on the ground. The call went through, and police responded. Lopez and Gill fled out the back door to Lopez’s house around the corner from the victim’s home when police arrived. 

Lopez and Gill were both arrested by members of the Nassau County Police Department while trying to flee Lopez’s home in a car.

Gill previously pleaded guilty to Murder in the Second Degree, and was sentenced on December 4, 2019, to 17 years to life in prison. 

The case was prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Stefanie Palma of the Homicide Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Abensur of the Appeals Bureau. The defendant is represented by Robert Gottlieb, Esq. 

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