Feds allege ‘emotional affair’ may have led Tennessee man to drive to Dallas to commit murder

 

Documents obtained from the Dallas Morning News show that authorities have a suspect in custody who shockingly and seemingly arbitrarily killed a man steps from his front door in North Oak Cliff in early October.

The day after 49-year-old James “Jamie” Faith died, police released a photo of a black pickup truck and said the shooter took it off. Crime Stoppers offered $ 25,000 for information leading to an arrest.

But two months later the trail seemed to have grown cold.

Faith’s widow, Jennifer, spoke to the media in early December, telling KXAS-TV (NBC5) that her late husband, who had been the director of IT at American Airlines, was “the backbone of our family,” and asked his killer to join turn yourself over in.

“I hope that maybe one day the person will realize the severity of what they did and what they took from me and my daughter,” she said.

On WFAA-TV (Channel 8), she described the distinctive pickup truck that had raced away and noticed a Texas Rangers sticker on the rear window. “Someone needs to know whose truck this is,” she told the station.

Authorities now say Jennifer Faith knows the man who owned this truck, that they were romantically involved, and that she sent him hundreds of text messages the day after the murder.

This man is now being held in a Tennessee prison.

Dallas police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. The records do not indicate that Jennifer Faith is suspected or charged with any crime. She did not answer a call to a number listed for her on public records.

“Emotional Affair”

The Faiths left home on the morning of October 9th, the day after their 15th birthday, to walk their dog, Maggie, down South Waverly Drive.

Jennifer Faith told a Dallas police officer that she heard footsteps from behind and then saw a man who, according to court documents, aimed a gun at her husband’s head. He fired a 45-caliber pistol several times, killing the 49-year-old.

The man then attacked Jennifer Faith, told police and tried to tape her hands together and peel the rings off her fingers before escaping empty-handed.

According to a search warrant affidavit, Jennifer Faith gave police permission to view the data on her cell phone after the shooting.

In April text messages, she told a friend that she was having “a full blown emotional affair” with a man she met in high school and college, who lived in Tennessee after he retired from the Army Special Forces, it says the affidavit.

Jamie Faith knew about the other man and was upset, she said.

By August, Jennifer Faith announced to the same friend that she had canceled it, saying that her husband was “hurt” and that she “just couldn’t do it to him,” the affidavit reads.

Authorities identified the other man as Darrin Ruben Lopez, 48. He owned a black Nissan Titan pickup in 2004, they said.

Hundreds of messages

Officials obtained a warrant to search Lopez’s cell phone records and found that he and Jennifer Faith were in “constant contact” and exchanged hundreds of text messages every day.

Darren Rubin Lopez(Dickson County Sheriff’s Office)

Although Jennifer Faith had said months earlier that the affair was over, contact between the two continued in early October, the affidavit said. On October 6th they exchanged 419 messages; on October 7th there were 640.

But the news stopped at 1:07 p.m. on October 8 and didn’t resume until 5:18 p.m. on October 9 – the day Jamie Faith was killed. According to authorities, Lopez’s phone was off most of the time.

The news soon resumed its previous pace, and in the weeks that followed, Lopez and Jennifer Faith texted each other more than 500 times a day – “all day every day,” the affidavit reads.

Despite Lopez’s phone record showing that the two had communicated frequently, most of those messages were not on Jennifer Faith’s phone, the affidavit said, leading authorities to believe they had been deliberately deleted.

Debit card transactions

Authorities also analyzed Lopez’s financial transactions in the days surrounding the shooting.

Surveillance footage showed Darrin Lopez at a truck stop in Arkansas, authorities say.Surveillance footage showed Darrin Lopez at a truck stop in Arkansas, authorities say.(U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee)

On October 7th, he had the air and oil filters changed and a light on his Nissan pickup replaced, according to the affidavit, and paid with a debit card.

The next afternoon, he made two purchases from a gas station in a town south of his home, about 30 miles west of Nashville, according to an affidavit.

Three hours later he was at a rest stop in West Memphis, Ark., On the 650-mile route between his home and the Faiths. He bought gasoline and Red Bull and withdrew $ 100 from an ATM. Surveillance cameras captured images of him and his truck with a “T” sticker affixed to the windshield.

Lopez didn’t use his debit card until late October, more than a day later, at the gas station near his home, the affidavit said.

File photo.

Digital evidence

Authorities also found that the Faiths had a motion-activated surveillance camera in their backyard. Five hours before the shooting, the camera recorded images of a man in the courtyard of an empty house next door.

He matched Lopez’s description and wore clothes and a blue mask that resembled the pictures of Lopez at the Arkansas rest stop, authorities said. GPS from Lopez’s phone brought him to the area at the time, the affidavit said.

His Google account also provided evidence to the authorities, according to an affidavit.

On October 8, he was looking for directions from his home to the Faiths’ home on South Waverly Drive, authorities said.

When he was back in Tennessee, they checked the news for stories of Jamie Faith’s death.

Home surveillance

Lopez owned 20 acres of land along Sweet Home Road in Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee, but authorities said he hadn’t made any payments on his mortgage in several months and that his lender had started the foreclosure process. Its water was turned off in October, the affidavit says.

Aerial photos of the property captured in November by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation show horses running around next to the house. Nearby is a black pickup truck with the distinctive “T” sticker on its rear window.

An agent from the Federal Office for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who was monitoring the house on December 4, discovered that a new sticker had been affixed to the tailgate of the pickup truck.

But four days later the “T” sticker had been removed, the affidavit said. The change came days after Jennifer Faith mentioned the sticker in an interview, and authorities believe Lopez removed it to change the truck’s appearance.

Federal search warrant

A federal judge in Tennessee signed a search warrant on Lopez’s property last week. Prosecutors tried to accuse him of having transported a firearm in international or international trade in order to commit a crime.

Authorities said they were looking for items such as a 45-caliber pistol, records or receipts of October 8th and 9th purchases, cell phones, correspondence with Jennifer Faith, a blue mask, and duct tape.

It was unclear on Tuesday whether they had carried out the warrant or what evidence they might have confiscated. The federal authorities did not respond to requests for comment on the case.

Lopez was arrested Monday night and remained in custody in Dickson County, Tennessee Prison on Tuesday for accused of being a fugitive from justice, according to prison records. He was being held without bail and it was unclear whether he had a lawyer.

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