Ventnor Man Pleads Guilty in Fatal 2017 Stabbing of Man, Woman

Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner announced that Jose Lopez, of Ventnor City, pleaded guilty to the stabbing death of an Atlantic City woman and the non-fatal stabbing of a man on February 18, 2017.

Jose B. Lopez, 53, pleaded guilty to the Murder of Bessy Blanco, 30 years in New Jersey state prison without parole
Attempted Murder of Mark Richart: 20 years in New Jersey state prison, must serve 85%. The sentences will be served concurrently.

According to authorities, on February 18, 2017 at 7:57 p.m., Atlantic City Police and emergency medical personnel responded to N. Harrisburg Avenue, Atlantic City, for a 9-1-1 call. Upon arrival, police found Mark Richart, 52, of Quakertown, Pennsylvania, who was the victim of a stabbing. Police found Bessy Blanco, 54, inside her home on N. Harrisburg Avenue, and she was also stabbed. Blanco was pronounced dead at the scene. Richart was transported to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center—City Division.

A Galloway Township Police officer who was on patrol located Lopez in Galloway Township the next morning, operating a motor vehicle that belonged to Richart. The officer radioed for backup units, stopped the vehicle and arrested Lopez without incident. Lopez was transported to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, where he was processed for the arrest, then lodged in the Atlantic County Justice Facility, where he remains.

The investigation was a joint effort by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, the Atlantic City Police Department, with the assistance of the Galloway Township Police Department, the Egg Harbor City Police Department, and the Mullica Township Police Department.

Lopez’s sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 10, 2018. Assistant Prosecutor Rick McKelvey represents the state in the matter.

Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at http://www.acpo.org/tips.html and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page.

People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at http://www.crimestoppersatlantic.com/. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.