1st Suspect Gets 15 Years in Sweetwater Skateboarder's Death

SAN ANGELO, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - One of two suspect accused of killing a skateboarder from Sweetwater during a fatal hit-and-run in San Angleo has been sentenced to serve 15 years in prison for his part in the crime.

Christopher Lee Mata received the 15-year sentence after pleading guilty to Accident Involving Death and Tampering with Evidence in a Tom Green County courtroom Tuesday morning. 

A second suspect implicated in the crime, Nichole Lorelle Johnson, is scheduled to have hear plea hearing Tuesday afternoon. 

All charges are connected to the death of Joe Carlos Lopez, 21, who was struck and killed while skateboarding in August of 2015.

Initial investigations lead authorities to believe Lopez was skating in the outside lane of South Chadbourne Street in San Angelo when a driver struck him and fled the scene without rendering aid or calling authorities.

Police have surveillance video that shows a white or light-colored Ford Explorer or Expedition from the late '90s or early 2000s with damage to the front passenger side headlight caused the fatal incident.

Both Mata and Johnson were arrested and charged in connection to Lopez's death in December. They were released from the Tom Green Jail after posting a $50,000 bond each.


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