Nearly 1,600 death row inmates have been put to death in the U.S. since 1977. An execution scheduled for Tuesday in Missouri would be the first of an openly transgender woman. Amber McLaughlin, 49, is set to die for stalking a former girlfriend and stabbing her to death nearly 20 years ago. No appeals planned and Gov. Mike Parson denied a clemency request, the Associated Press reports. A database of the anti-execution Death Penalty Information Center shows 1,558 people have been executed since the death penalty was reinstated in the mid-1970s. All but 17 were men, and there are no known cases in which an openly transgender inmate was executed. A clemency petition cited McLaughlin’s traumatic childhood and mental health issues, which the jury never heard at her trial.
A foster parent rubbed feces in her face when she was a toddler and her adoptive father used a stun gun on her, according to the petition, which cited severe depression resulting in multiple suicide attempts, both as a child and as an adult. The petition included reports citing a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, a condition causing anguish and other symptoms as a result of a disparity between a person’s gender identity and their assigned sex at birth. McLaughlin’s sexual identity is “not the main focus” of the clemency request, said her attorney, Larry Komp. McLaughlin was convicted of first-degree murder in 2006. A judge sentenced her to death after a jury deadlocked on the sentence. Komp said Missouri and Indiana are the only states that allow a judge, rather than a jury, to sentence someone to death.