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Press Release

Inmate In Coleman Federal Prison Found Guilty Of First-Degree Murder In Death Of Cellmate

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Ocala, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that a federal jury has found Romeo Lopez-Hernandez (37, Coleman) guilty of first degree, premeditated murder. Lopez-Hernandez faces a mandatory penalty of life in federal prison. His sentencing is scheduled for April 2023.

According to evidence presented during the three-day trial, on February 1, 2021, Lopez-Hernandez strangled his cellmate to death by using a torn bed sheet he had made with an improvised knife. After the victim lost consciousness, Lopez-Hernandez watched for guards and continued to strangle the victim until he was sure that the victim had died. Lopez-Hernandez later confessed to the murder and bragged about it to prison personnel. At trial, however, Lopez-Hernandez changed his story and claimed the victim had committed suicide.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tyrie K. Boyer and Belkis H. Crockett. 

Updated January 23, 2023

Violent Crime