Fresno police have arrested a man they believe to be responsible for the brutal killing of Casey Haggard, a transgender woman more than two years ago.
Richard Joseph Lopez, 37, was charged with the July 2015 murder of 66-year-old Kenton Craig Haggard, who friends say went by “Casey” or “KC.” Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Lopez has a criminal history and was in jail for an unrelated elder abuse case when detectives identified him as the murderer.
Haggard, 66, was stabbed to death while walking along Blackstone Avenue in the early morning of July 23, 2015. Police believed at the time that the suspect was looking for a woman to pay for sex when he encountered Haggard, who friends and family said was in the process of transitioning from a man to a woman.
Zoyer Zyndel, the board chair of local transgender advocacy group Trans-E-Motion, organized the events following Haggard’s death. He said Monday that the arrest was “very surreal” and a major relief.
“Almost all transgender murders end up as cold cases,” Zyndel said. “This arrest can lead to real justice and is quite frankly a miracle in our community.”