Eddy Lopez-Jemot remains locked up in county jail nearly two weeks after his girlfriend told police he forced open her van parked at the Key Largo Veterans of Foreign Wars post while holding a knife and threatened to kill her and burn down her house.
About 20 minutes after the alleged assault happened, and about 100 yards away, Mary Bonneville, 70, was murdered inside her Ponce de Leon Boulevard house, which was set ablaze after she was killed. Police and prosecutors won’t say if the crimes are connected, but the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office classified Bonneville’s death as a homicide last week.
Until now, it was considered “suspicious.”
Lopez-Jemot, 50, was arrested Oct. 23 on charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon and burglary. He’s in jail on Stock Island on a combined bond of $168,000.
Magdalena Soutelo-Rodriguez, his girlfriend, told detectives that around 9:20 p.m. Oct. 21, he forced open her van’s door while holding a knife with a green handle. He told her he would cut her head off and burn down her house. Soutelo-Rodriguez told Detective Robert Dosh that Lopez-Jemot also boasted of burning people’s homes down after he killed them.
Around 9:40 p.m., Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a house fire in the neighborhood behind the VFW at mile marker 102.2. The flames were too intense for the deputies to go inside. Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department firefighters put out the fire shortly after they arrived and found Bonneville’s body inside. It had wounds not caused by the fire, Deputy Becky Herrin, Sheriff’s Office media relations officer, said.
Bonneville was a regular at the VFW bar, going there just about every day, staff and friends said. Bar manager Toni Minnix told this newspaper the day after Bonneville was killed that, like clockwork, she came to the bar around 4 p.m. daily and left at 8:30 p.m.
Lopez-Jemot lives on a boat moored just offshore in the bay behind the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cutlural Arts Center, mile marker 102, with at least one other person. Detectives raided the vessel last week.
VFW patrons who did not want to be named said Lopez-Jemot had been recently banned from the bar and they were surprised to see him there that Saturday night. Another patron at the bar that night reported to police that two of his tires were slashed in the post’s parking lot.
David Goodhue: 305-440-3204