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Father convicted on all counts in deadly Rancho Bernardo fire

Posted at 1:46 PM, Sep 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-16 17:34:04-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The father whose two children died in a Rancho Bernardo home fire in 2017 was found guilty on all counts Monday.

Jurors found Henry Lopez guilty of two counts of child endangerment, recklessly causing a fire causing great bodily injury, and two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the death of his two children.

Prosecutors argued Lopez fell asleep with a lit cigarette, starting the fire that killed 7-year-old Isabella and 10-year-old Cristos and destroyed his condominium. Lopez’ attorney said a defective cell phone was the likely ignition source.

Lopez woke up to find his home on fire and tried to escape but passed out from smoke, investigators said. Firefighters later found him and took him to the hospital.

Deputy District Attorney Kyle Sutterley said Cristos died of burns to more than 80 percent of his body and Isabella died of smoke inhalation.

"A parent has a responsibility to care for their children, a responsibility to protect their children, and if need be, to sacrifice themselves for their children. And Henry Lopez, on Oct. 28, 2017, he failed his children, and as a result, one of them burned to death, and one of them went to sleep and never woke up,'' Sutterley said in his closing argument.

Lopez faced up to 16 years and 8 months in prison.