Dwight DeLee was sentenced to 25 years in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter in the first degree as a hate crime in the shooting of Lateisha Green, the Associated Press reports. Green, a transgender woman, was shot to death while sitting in a car outside of a house party with her brother and a friend in November 2008. Witnesses at the scene stated that DeLee and others made anti-gay slurs at the time of the shooting.
As GLAAD earlier reported, DeLee was the second person in the country to be convicted of a hate crime for killing a transgender person. The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) clarified the manslaughter charges in a blog posted during the trial of Dwight DeLee:
Manslaughter in the first degree as a hate crime requires that an individual intends to cause serious physical injury to a person because of a belief regarding that person’s sexual orientation, and causes serious physical injury to that person or a third person.
DeLee received the maximum sentence and will also be subject to five years of supervision after the sentence is served.
The TLDEF, along with GLAAD and the Empire State Pride Agenda, has been working closely with Green’s family. It released a statement welcoming the sentencing, but urging more action on hate crime legislation. The TLDEF said:
Neither New York State law nor federal law includes gender identity or expression as hate crime categories and that sends a dangerous message that it is acceptable to leave part of our community vulnerable to hateful acts of violence simply because of who they are. We call upon our state and federal lawmakers to ensure adoption of transgender-inclusive legislation that will protect everyone regardless of their gender identity and gender expression.
The TLDEF statement also includes a statement from the Green family, who said:
Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that violence motivated by anti-transgender bias is unacceptable and wrong. It affects everyone in a community and it has left many hurt and distraught. We can only hope that Teish’s story will prevent any more loss of life simply because someone is different.
GLAAD will continue to monitor this event and bring you coverage on all events surrounding the sentencing of Dwight DeLee.