The assailant released a flurry of bullets, striking Jamie Faith three times in the head, three times in the chest and once in the groin. Then the person attacked Jennifer Faith, she claimed, duct-taping her hands and striking her while she was on the ground.
When she screamed for help, the person allegedly sped away in a black Nissan pickup sporting a distinctive “T” sticker. Jamie Faith, an information-technology director for American Airlines, was pronounced dead at the scene.
“I’m not supposed to be widowed at 48, you know?” Jennifer Faith told WFAA through tears after the Oct. 9 killing. “I just hope that at some point, maybe this person can recognize the gravity of what they’ve done and feel some sort of guilt, enough to come forward.”
But that expression of agony may have concealed a dark secret, Jeffrey Boshek II, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’s Dallas Field Division, said Thursday in a statement.
“Sometimes,” he said, “things just aren’t what they seem.”
Jennifer Faith is now charged with obstruction of justice after federal prosecutors accused her this week of helping the alleged killer to conceal the crime. Her emotional news interviews about her husband were simply “cowardly attempts to utilize the media to conceal her involvement” in the killing, officials alleged.
In the days after the shooting, Jennifer Faith destroyed text messages she had exchanged with the suspect and urged him to remove the “T” sticker from his truck, a criminal complaint says. Prosecutors believe Faith had been having a “full-blown emotional affair” with the man, Darrin Ruben Lopez, whom she had dated in high school and college.
An attorney for Faith, Toby Shook, rejected what he characterized as the complaint’s clear implication that Faith had helped to plan her husband’s killing. Faith described the shooter to police in detail, gave them access to the family’s security camera and turned over her phone containing texts referencing her affair with Lopez, he said.
“Those aren’t actions of someone that’s helping in murdering her husband,” Shook said.
But Lopez’s attorney, Juan Carlos Sanchez, blamed Faith for the killing.
“We believe Mr. Lopez to be a good man with a military background that may have been manipulated by Jennifer Faith and caused him to act under some belief that she was in some kind of danger,” Sanchez said in an email.
A search of Jennifer Faith’s cellphone shortly after the killing showed that she had a strained relationship with her husband and was having an affair with Lopez, 48, the complaint says. She and Lopez had broken up years earlier when he was deployed to South Korea, she allegedly texted to someone in April. Now he was living in northwest Tennessee, and he had found her again.
“So, I have no idea when I am going to be able to talk to you over the phone, but I am pretty much having a full-blown emotional affair,” Faith wrote in a text message, “and Jamie knows it.”
Faith later claimed to the same person that she had “put the brakes” on her affair with Lopez because it had been hurting her husband.
A few weeks after the killing, prosecutors say, Faith and Lopez decided to delete many of the text messages between them. But a later conversation pulled from Lopez’s phone showed the pair discussing the killing of Jamie Faith, 49.
Jennifer Faith allegedly told Lopez that she was nervous because she had just referenced the “T” sticker — for Texas Rangers — on the suspect’s getaway truck in an interview with WFAA.
“So, I woke up in a little bit of a panic,” she allegedly wrote to Lopez on Dec. 3. “Something is eating away at me telling me you need to take the sticker out of the back window of the truck.”
“I have been working on that sticker a little at a time when the truck is here,” Lopez replied, according to the complaint. “Trying to get it off looking like it is wearing off.”
Three days later, Lopez allegedly circled back.
“Sticker done,” he texted to Faith.
The evening before Faith was set to meet with police again, she told Lopez not to text her that day so she could delete all of her messages and trigger a factory reset on her phone, the complaint says. Then she allegedly suggested that they lie if police inquired about their relationship.
“If asked about you, you are an old friend going through a divorce,” Faith wrote, according to the complaint. “We talk every night because I am helping/giving support with the girls since you have sole custody. If it ever comes to it, I’ll answer the same way about financial also…..divorce killing you financially, so I am helping out where I can”
A few seconds later, she added: “Just so you and I have the same explanations”
Unbeknown to Faith, investigators had collected evidence that they believed pinned the killing on Lopez: He owned a black Nissan with residue where the “T” sticker would have been. Debit card transactions and GPS data suggested that he was traveling to Dallas on the day before the killing. And his phone pinged off cell towers between Dallas and his home on the day after.
Federal agents arrested Lopez on Jan. 11 as he stepped out of a car driven by his daughter. Now in custody in Dallas, he is charged with murder, in state court, and transporting a gun across state lines to commit a murder, in federal court.
“Jennifer Faith’s persona in private was very different from the grieving widow she portrayed in public through the media,” prosecutors wrote in the complaint against her. Her “conduct was a calculated attempt to obstruct the criminal investigation into the murder of her husband and her actions substantially interfered with the administration of justice.”