Two men found guilty of beating victim to death in Doraville

Two men will serve decades in prison after beating a man to death in Doraville during what investigators described as a random attack.

DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston recently announced a conviction by jury trial in the case against 22-year-old Jaheim Sims of Snellville.

Jurors found Sims guilty on three counts of felony murder and aggravated battery; two counts of aggravated assault; and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony stemming from the attack on 56-year-old Mario Vasquez Lopez in 2020.

As part of a plea deal, Sims’ co-defendant, who was not named by officials, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and possession of a firearm by a first offender probationer.

Doraville police found Vasquez Lopez severely beaten and unresponsive on Sept. 10, 2022. A witness told investigators he observed the victim being punched and kicked repeatedly and dragged across the street where the beating continued. Officers said they located two men fitting the description of the suspects about a quarter mile from where the victim was found. The witness positively identified them, said officials.

The investigation revealed that the attack against Vasquez Lopez was random and unprovoked, said officials, noting that the victim still had cash, a cell phone, other belongings in his pockets and there was no evidence that he knew his attackers.

After three months in an Atlanta hospital, doctors determined he was unlikely to recover from a severe brain injury and he was transported to Guatemala where he was cared for by family until his death in October 2022 from delayed effects of blunt force trauma, officials, said. Vasquez Lopez never regained consciousness, they said.

Immediately following the guilty verdicts, DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Stacey Hydrick, who presided over the trial, sentenced Sims to serve life without the possibility of parole plus five years. Hydrick sentenced the co-defendant to 30 years to serve 20 in confinement with the balance on probation.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Lauren Caldwell with assistance from Senior Assistant District Attorney Sam d’Entremont, District Attorney Investigator Leslie Moses, Victim Advocate Sandra Trejos-Roman and Victim Advocate Gaby Ziegenbein. Doraville Police Department Det. Scott Rogers led the initial investigation.

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