Newburgh man pleads guilty to manslaughter in drug death of woman

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Jessica Lopez

GOSHEN – A Newburgh man pled guilty in Orange County Court on Thursday to manslaughter, burglary and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the death of a City of Newburgh woman.

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

Mercado admitted that on November 3, 2019 at about 5 a.m., while the two were alone in a motel room, he caused the woman’s death by giving her a variety of illegal narcotics and drugs, which caused Lopez to have a severe adverse reaction and that he failed obtain medical aid for her. She died in the motel room.

Mercado admitted that had Lopez received prompt medical care she could have survived and that his actions caused her death.

At about 4:45 that afternoon, he removed her from the motel room, placed her in the trunk of her car and hid her body so it could not be found by the authorities.

As part of the plea agreement, Mercado agreed to provide accurate information concerning where he hid the woman’s remains and agreed to comply with all lawful requests of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and any law enforcement agency to aid in the recovery of Lopez’s remains.

“This defendant’s actions in giving her the illegal drugs, which he admits killed her, and preventing her from receiving medical care, which likely would have saved her, was made even more egregious by his cruel actions in hiding her body from her family and the police.”