Friday, December 23, 2016


For the first time a man has been prosecuted in federal court for a hate crime against a trans person.
Mississippi man pleads guilty to first federal hate crime for killing transgender ex
By Elizabeth Preza
December 22, 2016

A Mississippi man pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal hate crime for killing an Alabama transgender teenager whom he had dated, the nation’s first involving a victim targeted solely based on their gender identity, WKRG reports.

Joshua Brandon Vallum, 29 pleaded guilty to a state murder charge in July 2015; he admitted to beating 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson to death after discovering her biological gender. In court, Vallum admitted he would not have killed Williamson if she was not transgender.

Authorities say Vallum was in a gang called the Latin Kings, which banned homosexuality. When his friend discovered Williamson’s biological gender, he “believed he would be in danger if other Latin Kings members discovered that he had engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with a transgender woman.”

Several months after ending his sexual and romantic relationship with Willaimson, Vallum reportedly picked her up under false pretenses and killed her, using a stun gun, pocket knife and hammer.
Good! I hope the judge gives him the maximum sentence.

Fusion reported,
According to the DOJ, Vallum and Williamson had been in a relationship, and Vallum was fully aware of Williamson’s gender identity. While Vallum contended in his state trial that he killed Williamson only after discovering she was transgender, federal prosecutors said Vallum used a stun gun, repeatedly stabbed, and beat her with a hammer out of fear that fellow members of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Almighty Latin Kings and Queens Nation would learn of their relationship—something prohibited in the Latin King bylaws.
This was one of the typical hate murders, where the suspect knew she was trans and then when friends found out that he was dating a trans women he kills her to protect his honor.

The reason it was a federal crime according to Fusion,
Vallum is already currently serving a life sentence for killing Williamson after pleading guilty to murder charges in Mississippi. The Sun Herald notes that because the state does not have laws to protect victims of hate crimes based on gender identity and because Vallum crossed state lines from Alabama to Mississippi to commit the murder, the DOJ had room to bring federal hate crime charges.
Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and I have to wonder if we will see more or less hate crime prosecutions under Trump presidency than Obama’s administration?

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