Newburgh man pleads guilty to manslaughter in woman’s drug-related death

Jessica Lopez

GOSHEN — A Newburgh man pleaded guilty Thursday in Orange County court to manslaughter, burglary and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the death of a Newburgh City woman.

Matthew Mercado, 39, faces 17 to 19 years in state prison when he was sentenced in November for the death of Jessica Lopez, 36, who was last seen November 3, 2019 at the Windsor Motel in the town of New Windsor.

Mercado admitted that on November 3, 2019 at around 5 a.m., while the two were alone in a motel room, he caused the death of the woman by giving her a variety of narcotics and illegal drugs, which caused to Lopez a serious adverse reaction and that he did not get medical help for her. She died in the motel room.

Mercado admitted that if Lopez had received prompt medical attention, she might have survived and that her actions caused her death.

At around 4:45 p.m. that afternoon, he took her out of the motel room, placed her in the trunk of his car, and hid her body so it could not be found by authorities.

As part of the plea deal, Mercado agreed to provide specific information about where he hid the woman’s remains and agreed to comply with all lawful requests from the County Attorney’s Office. Orange and any law enforcement agencies to assist in the recovery of Lopez’s remains.

“The actions of this defendant in giving her the illegal drugs, which he admits killed her, and preventing her from receiving medical treatment, which would likely have saved her, were made all the more egregious by his actions cruel in hiding his body from his family and the police.”

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