Gerardo Ruiz-Lopez, 42, of Merced, was convicted of attempted murder and felony child abuse, by a Merced County jury on Wednesday afternoon, after he attempted to kill his two-year-old daughter in 2016, Merced County District Attorney Larry D. Morse II announced. Ruiz-Lopez began sending his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his daughter disturbing texts messages, followed by phone calls on July 10, 2016, while he had custody of their daughter for the weekend.

Due to the nature of the text messages and calls, the mother called the Merced Police Department to do a welfare check on Ruiz-Lopez and their daughter. Once the police arrived at Ruiz-Lopez’s home and could not get anyone to answer the door, they forced entry into the home because they feared the
child may be in danger. During their search of the home, they found Ruiz-Lopez and his daughter unresponsive and shut in the walk-in closet upstairs. Inside of the closet with them, were two five-gallon propane tanks that were
both freely releasing propane gas due to the safety lines being purposely cut.

Also in the closet were toys, a tablet and pillows. The officers immediately picked up the victim’s limp body and took her outside, where she received treatment and ultimately survived. When officers spoke to Ruiz-Lopez, he claimed that he did not remember sending the texts,
the calls, or taking the propane into the closet, however, the jury did not find that to be true. Ruiz-Lopez also attempted to plead insanity, and the jury found him not legally insane.

“I want to thank the police officer who acted quickly to save the child’s life,” said Deputy District Attorney Caleb Hegland who prosecuted the case. “I would also like to thank the jurors who gave their time and attention to this trial. The defendant is now facing a life sentence and will hopefully never have the chance to harm a child again,” he added. Ruiz-Lopez will be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 3 of the Merced County Superior Court and faces 7 years-life.


Darryl Turner, was released from custody today, May 16, 2018, by Judge Shaver, over the strenuous objections of Deputy District Attorney Donna Bakich. Darryl Turner is charged with one felony count of cruelty to an animal, a misdemeanor vandalism and resisting arrest.

Turner was arrested May 7, 2018 after his mother called 911. According to his sister, Turner picked up a cage containing three German Sheppard puppies and threw the cage against the wall. The witness said the puppies cried out in pain as they hit the wall and fell to the floor.

Turner then grabbed his sister’s grown male German Sheppard by the collar and lifted it into the air, strangling it. She tried to take the dog away from him but he lifted it even further in the air. She reported she could hear the dog gasping for air and gurgling. When Turner heard his mother calling 911, he dropped the dog and ran out the door.

Turner was found by responding Deputies some distance from the house. When they tried to arrest him he resisted by trying to fight them. One Deputy was forced to use his Taser but the Taser had no effect. Deputies were finally able to control him.

In addition to felony cruelty to animals, Turner is also charged with a serious or violent prior conviction, Terrorist threats, from 2012. As a result, he is facing six years in prison if convicted. “Turner should have never been released from custody by the court. He is violent and society is not safe while he is out of custody. Anyone who is comfortable violently abusing animals is a serious threat”, according the Chief Deputy District Attorney Harold Nutt.