|Mazz's Joe López breaks his silence|
|Getting along with inmates|
Love him or hate him, Joe Lopez, formerly of Grupo Mazz, will go down in history as one of the greatest, most popular - and controversial - singers in Tejano music. The serious criminal charges, his guilty verdict and the aftermath of broken families, has supporters and detractors on all sides. In this exclusive interview, correspondent Ramon Hernandez gets 'an update from Lopez'
By Ramón Hernández
After two and a half years of being prohibited to speak to any form of media by numerous
lawyers, Joe López was finally allowed to break his silence and grant his first and only interview in this exclusive story.
For Pt. 2 go here: Mazz's Joe Lopez: solitude, forgiveness, reflection
The fact is that López has wanted to speak since day one. However, his defense attorneys had also prevented him from speaking on his own behalf in court.
The Grammy Award winning former lead singer for Mazz whose hits include “Amor Con Amor,” “No Te Olvidare,” “Lo Hare Por Ti,” “¿Qué Esperabas?” and “A Las Escondidas,” who was sentenced to 32 ½ years on October 31, 2006 for the alleged rape of his 13-year-old niece, was now able to talk.
(Photos courtesy Ramon Hernandez)
"I have always wanted everyone to hear my side of the story,” López disclosed.
The no-contact visit took place with the Tejano megastar locked within the confines of a three-by-four foot holding cell at a facility south of Rosharon, Texas. The only other person allowed to participate was Christina Hernández, president of the Justice for Joe López movement.
López seemed to be in fine spirits as his face lit up and he flashed that famous killer smile that once melted the hearts of many women, but gone was his mustache, beard, his long golden locks of Greek God hair and he was no longer bejeweled.
However, his now smooth pale face had nay a wrinkle and the baby blue eyes that send women swooning and falling at his feet still had a twinkle and sparkled as though spotlights were hitting his face; and it was all, as he said, because he had found the peace of the Lord.
“Yo andaba mal y Diosito me dijo ‘you’re going too fast,’ ” López said without hesitating one second to launch into our conversation as though he did not want to waste one minute of precious interview time.
“God said, ‘stop it,’ but never in my dreams, did I expect to be in here,” he added. Simply put, it was a wake-up call.
López then started to recount much information that cannot be shared with the public since it is for inclusion in a book that Christina is publishing.
The book, which has a working title of “Justice for Joe” will exonerate López and detail all the facts that will prove his innocence with never-before seen documents. It will also expose why López was set up, wrongfully charged and convicted. The book will expose important behind the scenes shocking facts. Another reason for losing the case is there was much evidence that was inadmissible in court because the alleged victim was not eighteen.
Days gone by,...
“They stopped my life,” the 58-year-old inmate said.
There is an appeal in progress and this cannot be hampered so this article will solely focus on what can be legally divulged. What can be disclosed is that López did not have to go to prison because he was initially offered four months in jail followed by probation. The result is that he fired his lawyers for even fathoming the thought of such a deal.
“Imagine that. If I had indeed done that and was offered only four months, I would have kissed his feet and hugged the judge, but I didn’t do anything. So why should I admit to a crime I did not commit in exchange for a light sentence? Ni lo mande Dios,” López said as he shook his head in disbelief.”
Instead, López is behind bars with 30 more years left to do, but as he firmly stated, “I have faith and as they say, the truth shall set you free.”
So what keeps the 1980s and ‘90s Tejano Music Awards Male Vocalist and Male Entertainer of the Year from going crazy from all his emotional torment?
“My friends, my fans and God,” he answered. “Little Joe just sent me $100 and has written a few letters. Marco Antonio Solís also wrote telling me that if this had happened in Mexico, he would have done something on my behalf and Luis Sílva, que en paz descanze y Dios lo tenga en sus brazos, he was helping me in looking for due royalties."
Joe did express disappointment that his longtime bandmate Jimmy González had not written him.
Then there’s the moral support of his children: Joey and Jenny, his mother Benita, his sister Alma and brothers Raúl, Lorenzo, Saúl and Ernie to keep him going plus Judy López, who is most vocal as the family’s voice. In addition, he receives a sack full of fan mail per week.
“On the average, I receive 20 letters a day and I answer each and every one of them. Check out my hand!” As he put his arm up to the window, one could not help but notice calluses and blisters from so much writing had replaced the rings he once wore. His wrists were also bare of a watch and bracelets, but he was wearing a necklace.
“See this crucifix? When I got to Huntsville, some of the Chicano prisoners asked me if I needed anything, I said, ‘yes, I would like a crucifix’ and they made this for me. If you notice the chain the crucifix is
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