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Denair killer denied parole for sixth time
parole board

The State Board of Parole found convicted killer Andrew Rick Lopez, 59, of Denair is unsuitable for parole based on the risk of violence and other factors, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office announced.

On June 26, 1991, Lopez snuck up on James Turnbough from behind and stabbed him 13 times in the back, stomach, and chest after an earlier argument. Lopez later bragged about the killing to one of the witnesses in the case. At the time, Lopez had just been released from prison and was wanted for absconding from parole supervision.

On Dec. 13, 1991, a Stanislaus County Superior Court jury convicted Lopez of second-degree murder with an enhancement for using a knife and having a prior prison commitment. He was sentenced to serve 17 years-to-life in state prison.

The district attorney’s office reported that since being in prison custody, Lopez has continued to accrue dozens of rule violations, including a 2018 violation for fighting and a 2023 violation for disobeying an order. Lopez also is a validated gang member.

Lopez has repeatedly contested these violations and still proclaims his innocence in the murder, according to the district attorney’s office.

A Comprehensive Risk Assessment conducted in 2024 by a prison psychologist found that Lopez still posed a moderate risk of future violence to the community if he were to be released.

Deputy District Attorney Zynal Aziz argued to the board that a parole denial for five years was appropriate based on Lopez’s failure to take responsibility for the life crime, his numerous rule violations, his failure to address his gang membership, and his failure to internalize his prison programing.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board denied parole, finding that Lopez consistently minimized his conduct for the life crime, his criminal history, his prison rule violations, and his failure to show a lengthy period of positive rehabilitation. They denied parole for the minimum length possible of three years.

This was Lopez’s sixth parole hearing, having previously been denied parole in 2019, 2016, 2013, 2009 and 2002. Lopez will be scheduled for another hearing in three years. He may be entitled to special consideration for earlier release because of his age and the amount of time he has already spent in custody if he can show a change in circumstances.