Suspect Arrested for 2015 Murder of Trans Woman

Suspect Arrested for 2015 Murder of Trans Woman
Photo: Richard Joseph Lopez

In the early morning of July 23, 2015, Casey Haggard was walking on Blackstone Ave when she was called over to a silver SUV. Less than a minute later, Casey was unsuccessfully attempting to flag down a passing vehicle after being stabbed in the neck by a passenger in said SUV which had drove away, leaving her alone to die. The brutal attack and last moments of Casey’s life were captured on a surveillance camera of a nearby business.

Cassie Haggard, 66, still referred by some of her family members as Kenton Craig Haggard, was in the process of transitioning from male to female when she was stabbed by Richard Joseph Lopez who police believe was looking for a prostitute when he called Cassie over to the car.

stabbing-victim

Kenton Haggard

Analysts at the federal crime lab narrowed down the search for the SUV and found the one involved in the murder. The registered owner was located and arrested in Oregon. During his interrogation, it was revealed he had sold the SUV to 39-year old Lopez.

Investigators also interviewed the man they believe cleaned the vehicle after the murder – Refugio Cedillo. Cedillo, who died in an unrelated motorcycle accident last December, was never arrested or charged in connection with this crime.

On Monday, February 5, 2018, police had enough evidence to charge Lopez for Cassie’s murder, just as he was starting a 3-year sentence for stealing a truck in Auberry from an elderly couple.

Motive for this senseless crime has yet to be determined as is the decision to enhance the murder to a hate crime. The district attorney will have the final say.

For over 2 years, Lopez avoided arrest for his involvement in Casey’s death. Fresno City Councilman Clint Olivier, who in July announced an increase in the reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for Cassie’s murder, and Zoyer Zyndel, the board chair of local transgender advocacy group, Trans-E-Motion, expressed great relief that a cold blooded murderer is off the streets and Cassie is one step closer to justice.

Suspect Arrested for 2015 Murder of Trans Woman was last modified: February 7th, 2018 by admin
Categories: Fresno
Tags: murder, stabbing

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