No forgiveness after apology for Fresno County workplace murder

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A man who claimed he was insane when he killed a co-worker three years ago is now headed to prison.

He wanted forgiveness Tuesday, but he's not getting it right now, even after apologizing publicly for the extreme act of workplace violence.

Outi Hicks had a surprise waiting for her when she got off work on Valentine's Day 2017. Her aunt and kids planned to pick her up for a family date.

"We had balloons and candy and flowers for her to surprise her and take her to dinner," said her aunt, Desiree Johnson.

The 32-year-old mother of three worked at Rio Bravo in Malaga to help support the family and some of her other favorite things.

"She loved her hats, her makeup, being a woman," said Johnson. "She was a big piece of the world and you took that away from us. And I don't know why."

Hicks had mentioned mistreatment by her supervisor, Aaron Lopez.

They worked together to remove scaffolding on that Valentine's Day and before she got her date, he bludgeoned her with a pipe.

Lopez initially claimed insanity and his attorney says doctors diagnosed him with schizophrenia and other serious mental health issues, but changed his plea when prosecutors offered a reduced, second degree murder charge.

"I take full responsibility for my actions and I understand it may be too early to ask because the wound of losing a loved one is still open, but I hope that one day you will be able to find it in your hearts to forgive me," Lopez said Monday.

He's never explained why he killed Hicks, which is part of the reason her family hasn't even thought about the forgiveness he wants.

"Because every time I've come to court and looked at your face, there was no remorse, there was no sadness, there was nothing for my family but disrespect," said Johnson.

Lopez admitted to second-degree murder, and he'll serve a life sentence with at least 16 years before he can be considered for parole.
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