Across The Pond, they've had their own high profile transgender murder trial going on. Unfortunately the results are depressingly familiar to those of us who are transgender, a transperson of color and live on this side of the Atlantic.
18 year old Shanniel Hyatt was cleared of murdering 39 year old florist and beautician Kellie Telesford. She'd met Hyatt outside the south London beauty salon where she worked just hours before she was killed.
Ms. Telesford's worried friends, who knew she rarely went anywhere without having her phone by her side and hadn't been able to successfully contact her called police. She was found strangled to death with a brown scarf around her neck in her locked South London apartment on November 21, 2007.
According to trial testimony, when paramedics found her body, the scarf was tied so tightly around her neck they could only get the tips of their fingers inside. There were also partial DNA traces from Shanniel Hyatt on the scarf it as well.
Hyatt admitted he gone out on a date with Telesford on November 18 while his girlfriend was out of town with their baby. Hyatt met her at the Norbury train station and rode back to Telesford's apartment for a drink and to watch DVD's.
He claimed she performed a sex act on him and denied that he killed Kellie Telesford in a transphobic rage after discovering she was a pre-op transwoman.
According to prosecutor Sally O'Neill, her body was on the floor with only her feet and right hand poking out from a "carefully" draped white throw. The apartment showed signs of disturbance, appearing to have been searched and items stolen such as Kellie's mobile phone, electronic equipment and her Oyster card.
CCTV images and mobile telephone records show Hyatt used Ms. Telesford's Oyster card to catch the bus from her home. He was carrying a "big bag, probably containing other items that he had stolen", according to Ms. O'Neill.
When Hyatt was arrested he told police he did not kill Ms. Telesford and had not even been aware that she was biologically male at the time. He insisted that she was alive at the time he left her apartment, with that departure time and his story changing several times during repeated questioning by police after his November 29 arrest.
Hyatt's defense attorney Joanna Greenberg admitted her client was a "cheap and nasty thief" but repeated his claim that Ms. Telesford was "fit and well" when he left her apartment. She then incredulously suggested that Kellie may have died during a consensual sex game which went wrong, or that she may have inflicted her fatal injuries herself.
Greenberg also claimed in her defense argument that there were no signs that Ms. Telesford fought Mr Hyatt, even though she had "a man's strength".
Yeah, right. We transwomen of color are not only exotic sex fiends with large sex organs and superhuman strength, but have magical powers and abilities far beyond the capabilities of biowomen, too. But if it flies in the face of logic and scientific evidence and works to get your apartment robbing murderous transphobic client off, so be it. Gotta blame that trannie for her own death and trash her reputation while you're at it.
Even though Hyatt was acquitted of manslaughter and murder charges, he's still in custody pending a deportation hearing back to Jamaica, mon.
Why am I not surprised he's from the most homophobic and transphobic place on earth?
And once again, the family of a slain transgender person is left wondering why this senseless murder happened and why the justice system once again failed to convict the killer.
I can only hope and pray we have better results with Angie Zapata's killer.