A transgender murderer smiled at her victim’s relatives and refused to apologize because her gender identity made her “vulnerable” as she was sentenced to 22 years behind bars.
Moses Jacob Lopez, 30, brutally stabbed taxi driver Reese McDowell Lawhon to death in his car in April 2023 with brass knuckles after suffering a mental health episode while out partying at night in Portland.
Lawhon had picked her up after a 911 operator suggested he call a cab home. Lopez senselessly stabbed him in the chest without provocation.
At her sentencing Wednesday, Lopez callously justified the murder by blaming a lack of mental health support and a system she believed was failing her.
“I refuse to apologize for the lack of help that I so desperately needed and that I called and asked for 911 services,” Lopez said, reports. The Oregonian.
He also complained that his gender identity meant he felt “targeted” and vulnerable to attack, the newspaper reported.
Transgender killer Moisés Jacob López, 30, refused to apologize for stabbing a taxi driver in the neck with brass knuckles when she was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Wednesday.
Reese McDowell Lawhon (center) picked up Lopez in her taxi in April 2023, and the two had an almost completely silent ride until she stabbed him in the neck “out of nowhere.”
Police pronounced Lawhon dead at the scene after his taxi was found stopped in traffic at around 7pm on April 9, 2023, in an unprovoked attack.
Lopez was initially charged with murdering Lawhon, but later accepted a plea deal that will see her serve only 22 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
His victim’s family reacted with outrage to the reduced charges, telling Lopez at her sentencing that she “will always be a monster.”
The night of Lawhon’s murder, Lopez had been partying in downtown Portland, but suffered a mental breakdown and called 911 to be taken home.
Instead, the 911 operator suggested he call a taxi and pay for the ride home.
After calling Radio Cab, static on the taxi dispatcher’s line led them to enter the wrong address.
“I ended up in a very scary part of town where I was really afraid,” Lopez said at her sentencing, stating that her gender identity often makes her feel attacked.
Surveillance footage from inside the taxi showed the ride was almost completely silent, until Lawhon realized the mistake and attempted to turn under a freeway overpass.
At that point, Lopez lunged forward and stabbed Lawhon in the neck “completely out of nowhere,” detectives said.
Police were called to the scene shortly before 7pm after motorists reported the taxi stopped in traffic and officers found the driver slumped over the wheel.
He had been stabbed in the neck and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lopez was quickly detained by police in the nearby area, and paramedics said they saw her get out of the taxi covered in blood and drop a pair of brass knuckles with a blade attached to the ground.
After his arrest, Lopez said he was having a mental health crisis and that was the reason he called 911 for help, a narrative he maintained at his sentencing as he refused to apologize.
However, those who knew Lawhon said he was a “kind soul” and would certainly have helped her if she had told them she was struggling.
Lawhon’s loved ones said he certainly would have helped Lopez if she had told him she was struggling, as he was described as “an exceptional person with time for everyone.”
Lopez sparked outrage over his sentence when he smiled at his victim’s relatives when they called her a ‘monster’.
His former colleague Darin Campbell said KPTV: ‘She never said a single word on that taxi ride. If she had told Reese, “I need help,” he would have helped her.
‘His help would have been there, in the front seat of that car. It could have been very different.
“The excuses that were made in the courtroom today for (Lopez’s) actions are shameful,” Campbell added.
‘Our view is that she is a homicidal mentally ill person who should never again be released. The Radio Cab management team who unfortunately had to watch the video of Reese Lawhon’s murder are traumatized, I am one of them.’
Just days before the murder, López had been arrested for threatening two employees at a supermarket and was charged with disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and weapons possession.
She did not appear in court on those charges, but the case was dismissed as part of a plea deal for Lawhon’s murder that reduced her murder charges to manslaughter.
Lawhon’s sisters accepted the plea deal because they said they did not want to put their parents through more pain, but they scheduled the deal to even be proposed and felt justice was not served.
“When Moses gets out in 20 years (assuming she’s still alive, which, believe me, I hope not), I hope to testify against her for whatever senseless crime she commits next, because she will,” said her sister, Claire Pearce. KATU.
His older sister, Natalie Boenker, added: “I am haunted daily by what Reese must have felt in those last 45 seconds. I wonder, was he scared? Did he think about us? Was he in pure shock? And was he in pain?”
Campbell also condemned the plea deal, saying he believed “the defense team took advantage of Reese’s family being older and having to travel a long distance in order to get this plea.”
Lawhon was known as a talented musician and artist, and had previously toured with the Smashing Pumpkins during his music career with the band Aan.
Tributes poured in for Lawhon after his untimely death, with a close friend saying that if you knew him “you loved him” and he didn’t have “an enemy anywhere in the world”.
At Lopez’s sentencing, her sister Claire said she had to explain to Lawhon’s nieces and nephews what happened, saying: “We tell our children so many times that the monsters are not under the bed or in the closet, but everything is a lie”. .. Moisés López is a monster and he always will be.’
The comment prompted Lopez to smile at the family member, causing one of his own defense attorneys to frown and shake his head, he reports. Oregon live.
Tributes have poured in for Lawhon following his death, with those who knew him describing him as a friendly and kind-hearted person.
He was adopted and had reportedly just located his biological parents and planned to reunite with them before they killed him.
Lawhon was known to enjoy art and music, and his obituary He claims that while he was in school, his art teacher described him as a “Mozart in the visual arts.”
“A talented musician, he played guitar and a homemade drum set while in high school,” the obituary continued, as he joined the indie rock band Aan as a bassist and singer.
His musical career also included tours with the Smashing Pumpkins, according to the obituary.
Lawhon was adopted and had reportedly just located his biological parents and planned to reunite with them before they killed him.
“Reese was an exceptional person who had time for everyone,” the obituary concludes.
‘He exuded a quiet confidence and often regaled his friends with timely and humorous jokes. He was a keen observer of humanity and a welcome presence in any group. He was a great hugger. He respected people from all walks of life.
‘Reese never lost a friend; “he kept adding them and they never left.”
After her death, the Gladney Center for Adoption created the Reese McDowell Lawhon Scholarship Fund in her name to assist adoptive families.
His band paid a touching tribute to him on Facebook, saying that if you knew Lawhon, “you loved him.”
‘I don’t think I had an enemy anywhere in the world… The emptiness of losing him will last my entire life. The best man at my wedding. The first person I called when my father passed away. Always available, comforting and rational. He is too much and not yet real. Infinite love for this beautiful soul.’