Trans killer likely lied to judge at sentencing after getting sweetheart plea deal from Portland DA Mike Schmidt

Lopez used transgender identity as a justification for the killing and laughed at the victim's family in court.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
Court records revealed that convicted trans-identified killer Moses J. Lopez, 30, may have misled the judge before his sentencing for the murder of Portland Radio Cab driver Reese Lawhon.

The alleged fabrication resulted in Lopez being offered a sweetheart plea deal by Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt's Office.

Lopez was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Feb. 21 after pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter and one count of unlawful use of a weapon over the brutal stabbing death of cab driver Reese Lawhon in 2023. Lopez was riding as a passenger in the back seat when Lopez stabbed Lawhon in the neck in an uprovoked attack with a pair of brass-style knuckles that had an attached blade, court documents show.

Lopez pleaded guilty to manslaughter in exchange for the murder charge being dropped. Multnomah County Judge Heidi Moawad accepted the plea agreement despite the heinous killing and Lopez famously showing no remorse during trial.

During court testimony, Lopez cast blame for the killing and alleged to the judge that they had dialed 911 and requested to be taken to an emergency room and had been suffering from a mental health crisis.

"I refuse to apologize for the lack of help I so desperately needed and called and asked for from 911 services," Lopez told Judge Moawad.

A communication records request obtained by KATU from the Bureau of Emergency Communications revealed that no such requests had been made to the dispatcher during the phone call that night.

The dispatcher transcript is as follows:

Lopez: "I’m sorry; I'm not feeling safe right now. I just want to go home."

Dispatcher: "Ok. Why aren’t you feeling safe?"

Lopez: "Because I just I’m just not feeling safe right now. Can someone pick me up please and take me home?"

Dispatcher: "Ok. So, we don’t give rides home. You’ll have to call like an Uber or a Lyft or a taxi or something like that."

(Car honks)

Lopez: "Ohhh."

(Car honks)

Dispatcher: "Are you able to call a taxi?"

The call abruptly ended after that question and there was no mention of mental health concerns or a transportation request to the emergency room.

During the trial, Lopez constinously blamed the dispatcher and claimed if the request—that did not happen—had been taken seriously, Reese Lawhon would still be alive. 

"I can't apologize for 911 refusing their services when I felt it was necessary to call, ask, and inform them what was happening,” said Lopez.

Lopez also placed responsibility on the jail guards Lopez spoke with following the arrest. Lopez explained Lopez's feelings to the judge when Lopez saw them in custody.

"I could have used one of you to come help me back then. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here now, and Reese would be with his family," claimed Lopez.

Judge Moawad approved the plea agreement despite the testimony and gave Lopez a maximum term of 22 years in jail. Lopez may be eligible for release significantly sooner because more than half of the sentence is eligible for a sentence reduction.

Lopez further discussed the negative manner in which individuals perceive transgender people during testimony; however, Lopez did not once mention being threatened that night.

Prosecutors obtained video evidence of the murder via surveillance footage from inside the Radio Cab. Video footage shows Lopez wearing a tiara and women's clothing when the attack occurred.

Lopez used transgender identity as a justification for the killing and laughed at the victim's family in court.

The defendant refused to take responsibility for the murder and gave the court a series of excuses as to why the heinous crime was committed. The excuses included losing Lopez's debit card, Lawhon entering the wrong address, and static over the radio. The defendant claimed that Lawhon entering the wrong address triggered Lopez to kill.

However, court documents show that Lawhon had immediately corrected the address upon picking up Lopez outside of a donut shop in the downtown corridor. Lopez stabbed him unprovoked while he was driving to the correct address. Prosecutors obtained the evidence via footage from the camera inside the cab.

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