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Mississippi: First-Ever Hate Crime Conviction for Transgender Murder

HeadlineMay 17, 2017
H13 trans murder case

Back in the United States, a federal judge in Mississippi has sentenced a Gulfport man to 49 years in prison for murdering a transgender teenager, in the first-ever hate crime prosecution involving a transgender victim. Joshua Vallum, who pleaded guilty in 2015 to killing 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson, was sentenced under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act. In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised the sentencing—even though then-Senator Sessions voted against the hate crimes bill in 2009. Williamson was one of at least 21 transgender people murdered in the U.S. in 2015. So far this year, at least 10 transgender people have been murdered nationwide.

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