The Fresno Police Department has announced the arrest of a suspect in the murder of a Transgender woman two and a half years ago on Blackstone and Cornell. 38-year old Richard Lopez is charged with fatally stabbing 66-year old Kenton “KC” Haggard. Fresno Police say surveillance video from a nearby tattoo parlor shows Lopez stabbing Haggard in the neck back in July of 2015. Haggard staggered a short distance before collapsing near the sidewalk. The victim was declared dead a short time later after being taken to the hospital.
Police Detectives were able to find the vehicle allegedly involved in the murder five days after the crime took place. After interviewing the owner of the vehicle, who is in custody on murder charges in Oregon, Police were able locate another person of interest in the case. This individual allegedly tried to clean up the vehicle after it was abandoned in Northeast Fresno.
That potential suspect was killed in a motorcycle accident last December. Police say they waited until today when Lopez was sentenced for an unrelated incident of theft and child abuse to charge him with Haggard’s murder.
Fresno Police strongly believe this was a hate crime. ” Based on the evidence of the case, and the statement of those we interviewed we strongly suspect that Kenton Haggard was murdered due to his or her sexual orientation”, said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.
Police were not able to question Lopez today because when he was taken into custody on the murder charges he opted to have a lawyer represent him. Police say Lopez has an extensive criminal past which includes auto theft, assault , and drug possession. Fresno Police Detectives interviewed more than 30 people gathering evidence that led to this arrest. More details on this story as they become available.