Brother of Cortland man stabbed to death breaks down night of incident

The brother of David O. Sears-Lopez, the Cortland man who was stabbed to death by Harold John Young, testified at a preliminary hearing in city court Monday afternoon.

William Lopez, David’s younger brother, described in detail the incident on Nov. 2 that revolves around Young’s court case that includes charges of murder in the second degree (an A-I Felony) and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree (also a felony).

While at work before 11pm (the day of the incident), William received a call from David. David called William “upset,” with David saying to William that Young sent him “a threatening text” in regards to Young’s daughter, Amber Young. At the time, Amber was romantically involved with David. 

William told David “to relax,” and William added he would meet up with David once he got off of work.

“I told (David) not to do anything stupid,” William said in city court.

Once William ended his shift at work, he went to pick up David at his home on Greenbush Street. David wanted to meet with Young in person to talk about an undisclosed issue with Amber. William agreed to take him to 19 Maple Ave., the scene of the impending incident, as Harold also agreed to talk to Dave in front of the house.

An outside view of 19 Maple Ave in Cortland, where the incident took place on Tuesday November 2, 2021.


When William and David arrived at the Maple Avenue residence, William said the conversation between David and Harold at the end of the driveway was “calm at first,” but “quickly escalated.”

William said the conversation between David and Harold was about Amber. According to William, David allegedly said “You’re not listening, my n***a.” 

“I’m not your n***er,” Harold said in response to David’s comment, according to William. 

William said that Harold got right into David’s face with William adding that the two were almost “nose-to-nose” and Harold was acting “hostile.”

David immediately “sucker punched” Harold in the face, William said, knocking him to the ground. Harold got up quickly and proceeded to stab David “in the heart” with a knife, William said as he described his vantage point that night.

“Why would you do this to me?” David said to Harold as he was holding his chest, according to William.

Dave attempted to get back into William’s car, but needed help from William due to David “on his knees and could barely move,” William said.

Harold tried to attack David again, and William as well, but hesitated “at the last minute.” William called 911 and then drove David to Guthrie Cortland Medical Center, as he held onto David’s bleeding chest in the process.

“He could barely talk and was unresponsive at times,” William said as he described David’s condition after the incident. “I told him it’s going to be OK.”

David made it to the Guthrie emergency entrance. He was airlifted to Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse to receive further emergency treatment, but died soon after unsuccessful surgery.

William noted minutes before the incident on Maple Avenue, he did not see a murder weapon in Harold’s hands. David was also not in possession of a weapon, William added.

Harold refused to testify during the hearing on his behalf.

Chief assistant district attorney Christopher Simser said after the hearing that Harold’s felonies were “undeniably committed,” adding that he is “guilty” of all his charges.

City judge Elizabeth Burns said Harold’s case will be moved to Cortland County Court. The date and time of Harold’s first case in county court has yet to be determined.


Usage of the N-word

The N-word was used in this article. Depending on the who is using the word and in what context, the N-word is used by some in endearment and some in hate. When looking into the usage of the N-word, you will see debates on the meaning of the word, who can use the term, who can be called the term, should the term be used, should the term be used conditionally (at certain times or by some), and whether the meaning is different due to the ending of it having an  “er” or “a”.