Toronto, Canada – Family and friends of Floreano Lopes gathered in court to remember the 42-year-old construction worker who was tragically shot and killed on the job site two-and-a-half years ago. The emotional plea for a stiff period of parole ineligibility for his killer, Jonathon Kozuch, was made by his loved ones during the sentencing hearing on Monday.
Tania Lopes, Floreano’s widow, tearfully told the court of the devastating impact of her husband’s death on their family. She described the pain of waking up each day hoping it was all a bad dream and not accepting the harsh reality of living without him. The court also heard from Floreano’s 12-year-old son Ethan, who shared a pre-taped video expressing the loss and absence of his father.
The tragic event took place on September 3, 2021, when a stolen black pick-up truck crashed into the construction site, injuring another worker. Kozuch, who was high on drugs, attempted to steal a cube van from the site but was confronted by Floreano. A confrontation ensued, resulting in Kozuch firing two shots, one of which struck Floreano in the calf. Despite being rushed to the hospital, Floreano succumbed to his injuries.
Kozuch was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, theft over $5,000, and dangerous driving causing bodily harm. He pleaded guilty to the latter two charges but was found guilty of second-degree murder by the jury.
During the sentencing hearing, the Crown prosecutor argued for a 15-year parole ineligibility period, citing Kozuch’s calculated plan and his attempt to escape following the incident. On the other hand, the defense lawyer suggested a shorter 10 to 12 years parole ineligibility, emphasizing Kozuch’s lack of prior violent or firearm-related convictions.
Floreano’s family members delivered emotional victim impact statements, expressing their shock and grief over his tragic death and voicing their lack of forgiveness for Kozuch. Justice Michael Quigley has reserved his decision on sentencing until February 15.