Sorry for not being able to report this yesterday: At the Dwight DeLee of Syracuse was convicted of first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime for shooting LaTeisha Green, a young black transgender woman, last November outside a house party.
DeLee becomes only the second person in the United States convicted of a hate crime that involved the death of a transgender victim. The first conviction was the recent Angie Zapata case in Colorado.
The 20-year DeLee faced second-degree murder as a hate crime and weapons charges. Judge William Walsh instructed the jury to also consider convicting DeLee of manslaughter as a hate crime, as well as murder or manslaughter without the hate crime element. The jury of six men and six women delivered the verdict after only six hours of deliberation over two days.
DeLee's defense attorney argued his client was not homophobic but several witnesses testified "they heard DeLee refer to Green as a 'faggot' just before Green was shot with a .22-caliber rifle while sitting in a parked car outside the party. But Johnson noted that other witnesses attributed the slur to others at the party."
Green's brother, 18-year-old Mark Cannon, is gay and was with his sister in the car when she was shot. Cannon, who was also shot by DeLee, testified DeLee was the fatal shooter. Also of note: Earlier this week, prosecutors said DeLee's family threatened witnesses after two witnesses recanted previous testimony.
LaTeisha Green was born Moses Cannon. At age 16 she decided to start dressing and living as a woman and was in the process of transitioning. Green was wearing jeans and a T-shirt the night she was killed.
Dwight DeLee faces up to 25 years in prison. The Advocate reports the judge will hand down the sentence on August 18. Given the mountain of evidence and the witness tampering allegations, it's likely he will get the full sentence. Unlike other recent cases.
Some Background ...
Witnesses Threatened in Syracuse Trans Murder Trial [R20]
Suspect Arraigned on Syracuse Transgender Murder [R20]
Hate Crimes Charges in Syracuse Trans Murder [R20]
Will Hate Crimes Charges Be Filed in Trans Murder? [R20]
No Bail for Syracuse Suspect, Victim ID'd as Trans [R20]
Black Syracuse Man Killed Simply for "Being Gay" [R20]
Family Defends Accused Killer of Trans Woman [R20]