FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno police have made an arrest in the murder of a transgender woman who was stabbed to death nearly three years ago in Central Fresno.
Richard Lopez, 38, was arrested in the case which stemmed from a 2015 stabbing many deemed to be a hate crime.
Fresno Police Chief, Jerry Dyer, said, "I think today he believed he was being sentenced for an elder abuse crime and was facing three years in prison. He had no idea he was going to be charged with the crime of murder and facing substantial time in jail or prison."
Transgender advocate, Karen Adell Scot says though she did not know Kenton K.C. Haggard, personally she's invested in finding her justice.
"I'm happy that the Fresno PD didn't give up on K.C. Haggard. 95% of our murders go unsolved," Scott said. "There was a reason that this person stabbed her in the neck and it wasn't because she was over 60 it was because they saw her as transgender."
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According to police surveillance video from a tattoo parlor helped them track down the suspect. We spoke with the owner he says he has about 30 cameras on the exterior of this building.
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The video shows the moment Haggard was stabbed after approaching an SUV at Cornell and Blackstone.
Lopez was the passenger in that SUV and is accused of committing the crime. Police say they cannot comment on who the driver was at this time.
Zoyer Zyndel, a friend of Haggard's says even though this arrest is a step in the right direction, there is still more work to be done as far as raising awareness about the violence the transgender community faces.
"It was really unfortunate at that time when I first found out about the murder to see someone's life cut short after they truly began to live," Zyndel said. "I truly believe this was an act of bigotry and this was a hate crime."
Detectives cannot comment on whether the DA will seek the hate crime enhancement. We will have to wait till those charges are filed.