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South Carolina Man Guilty in Black Transgender Woman’s Killing

A South Carolina man was found guilty Friday of killing a Black transgender woman after the exposure of their secret sexual relationship. It was the first federal trial over a hate crime based on gender identity, the Associated Press reports. After deliberating for four hours, jurors convicted Daqua Lameek Ritter of a hate crime for the murder of Dime Doe in 2019. Ritter was also found guilty of using a firearm in connection with the shooting and obstructing justice. Ritter faces a maximum of life imprisonment without parole. “This case stands as a testament to our committed effort to fight violence that is targeted against those who may identify as a member of the opposite sex, for their sexual orientation or for any other protected characteristics,” said federal prosecutor Brook Andrews. In the four-day trial prosecutors accused Ritter of shooting Doe three times with a .22 caliber handgun to prevent further revelation of his involvement with a transgender woman.

Prosecutors presented police interviews in which Ritter said he did not see Doe the day she died. Body camera video from a traffic stop of Doe showed Ritter’s distinctive left wrist tattoo on a person in the passenger seat hours before police found her slumped in the car. Witnesses also offered other damaging testimony. On the day Doe died, friends saw Ritter ride away in a car that Ritter’s acquaintance Kordell Jenkins said he had seen Doe drive previously. When Ritter returned, he wore a new outfit and appeared “on edge.” After building a fire in a barrel to smoke out mosquitoes on that summer day, a witness testified Ritter emptied his book bag into it. The witness believed it may have included the clothes he wore earlier. The following day, the witness saw the silver handle of a small firearm sticking out of Ritter's waistband. He said Ritter asked him to “get it gone.” Defense attorneys suggested that the story was fabricated to please prosecutors. They said Ritter’s friends gave conflicting accounts about details like the purported burning of his clothes while facing the threat of prosecution if they failed to cooperate.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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