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Murder trial to begin for young man charged with killing Weymouth cop, elderly woman nearly 5 years ago

Emanuel Lopes had a history of troubling behavior, but also struggled with mental health challenges, records show.

Funeral for Weymouth police Sergeant Michael C. Chesna at St. Mary of the Sacred Heart Church in Hanover, MA on July 19, 2018.Craig F. Walker

After more than four years, the 25-year-old man who allegedly shot and killed a Weymouth police sergeant and elderly woman will stand trial Thursday in Norfolk Superior Court.

Emanuel Lopes, a Weymouth resident, was arrested in July 2018 and indicted two months later for murder after he allegedly hurled a rock at Sergeant Michael Chesna’s head, knocking him unconscious, and then shot him multiple times with the sergeant’s own gun, according to court records.

Lopes then allegedly shot at several other police officers and ran with the gun in hand toward a neighbor’s home, records say. There, he allegedly shot 77-year Vera Adams while she was sitting on her porch.

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Court records indicate that Lopes was fleeing the scene where, after allegedly stealing his girlfriend’s car, he crashed into a Toyota Camry on a main road in Weymouth.

Opening arguments in the case are expected to begin just before 10 a.m. A witness list includes more than four dozen names, including a slew of Weymouth officers, residents, medical personnel, and troopers from the State Police crime lab. A spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney’s office said the jury pool was selected in Worcester to avoid picking a group of people already familiar with the shooting, which rocked the community.

Lopes has been arrested by Weymouth police at least twice before, records show, once for throwing a rock through the window of a home and later for selling cocaine to minors, both in 2017.

“We have fought with him before,” Weymouth officer Edward Hancock wrote in an arrest report.

Ahead of the trial, prosecutors also sought to present evidence of Lopes’s previous “bad acts,” according to court records. Days before the shooting, Lopes allegedly told a man who ordered Lopes out of the house that he would “kill you and the police when they get here.”

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However, court records also indicate that Lopes struggled with bipolar disorder and other mental health challenges at the time of the shooting. Records document interviews and recorded calls with Lopes’s mother in which she told law enforcement that her son “had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was not taking his medications” and “may have had a psychotic break.” Mary Cronin, Lopes’s girlfriend, also told police when she called to report her car stolen that he had bipolar disorder. Michael Dodge, who was inside the Toyota when Lopes crashed into his car, said Lopes “looked like he wasn’t in his right mind” in the minutes immediately before the shooting, according to court records.

Lopes was also involuntarily committed to a treatment center in 2017 to determine whether he had an alcohol or substance use disorder. He left the facility on Nov. 8 but less than a month later was admitted as an inpatient to the Plymouth-based High Point Treatment Center for “clinical stabilization services,” according to court records.

An attorney for Lopes could not immediately be reached for comment on whether he is planning an insanity defense. A judge granted prosecutors’ request that lay persons’ opinions of Lopes’s mental condition will not be admissible in court.


Ivy Scott can be reached at ivy.scott@globe.com. Follow her @itsivyscott.