Friday, July 17, 2009

DeLee Guilty!

Dwight DeLee has been found guilty of 1st degree manslaughter as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon.

So somebody finally got legally whacked for killing an African-American transperson.

But I can't get too happy. He wasn't found guilty of 1st degree murder. The sentencing phase has yet to be completed. I'm also bothered about the attempts to intimidate witnesses that need to be investigated and prosecuted.

But what I'm upset about is that TruTV didn't bother to cover this trial like they did the Zapata one.

It's not quite over yet, but Dwight DeLee will be getting jail time for kill Lateisha Green. How much of the 10-25 years he's facing is up to Judge Walsh.

TLDEF released a statement following the verdict, and thanks to Andy Marra, Laura Vogel and the TLDEF team who monitored the trial and supported the Green family.

Without them, this trial would have been invisible.

"Today, justice has been delivered for Lateisha Green with DeLee's conviction for committing a hateful act of violence," said TLDEF Executive Director and attorney Michael Silverman. "The jury's verdict provides Teish's family with the closure that they deserve and need, and sends a clear message that hate violence targeted at transgender people will not be tolerated."

Today's verdict is the first hate crime conviction for the slaying of a transgender person in New York State. It is only the second such conviction in the United States.

TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman has been working with the family since Lateisha's death in November. Silverman was on the ground in Syracuse, NY throughout this week's court trial working closely with the family. TLDEF collaborated with its sister organizations including the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Empire State Pride Agenda and the Rainbow Alliance of Central New York.

"Despite this legal victory, transgender New Yorkers still face a serious risk of violence and discrimination," added Silverman. "New York State law does not include gender identity or expression in its hate crime law 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 the New York State Senate and the United States Senate to pass transgender-inclusive legislation that will protect everyone regardless of gender identity and gender expression."

TLDEF will also be attending DeLee's sentencing on August 18th at the Onondaga County Courthouse in Syracuse, NY.

Lateisha Green's family released this statement following the verdict:

"Teish, a beautiful girl. A wonderful daughter. A brave soul. Teish was all of these things despite the adversity that regularly tried to weigh her down and overshadow her love of life. She was taken away from us too soon. All it took was one bullet.

"A bullet from a rifle that pierced her lungs and heart. And it took this one mere bullet to end Teish's life because she happened to be a transgender woman. We have spent months waiting for this day to come.

"8 long months that have kept our family captive to our fears, sadness and anger. Afraid to leave our homes, sad to have lost Teish and angry that we couldn't prevent this from happening to our little girl. But today, the jury delivered a verdict that will end most of the horrors experienced by our family and friends.

"The jury convicted Dwight DeLee of killing Teish in cold blood. They found him guilty of targeting Teish simply because of her difference. And the jury has made it clear that any loss of life in our city and county because of anti-gay and anti-transgender bias is unacceptable and wrong. Justice has been done.

"But we will never get to see Teish ever again. She will forever live in our hearts and minds. And it is our duty to share her story so that Teish's memory will be kept alive. We do this so this series of painful events will never happen again to any other person because they are different.

"Our family and friends will continue to talk about Teish so others may know the love and support that every child deserves regardless of their differences. We want to thank everyone who stood behind us and gave our family strength during such difficult times. The overwhelming amount of support has meant so much to us. We want to close by saying life is precious. Teish knew that and that's why she would tell everyone here to be brave. To be authentic and true to yourself. And Teish would give a beautiful and bright smile to everyone here. Thank you."


Anonymous said...

I have just finsihed reading your obeservations on the DeLee case verdict. I can't agree more with your outrage and disgust. For this, we are denied access to womens' spaces. For this, we are accused of male privledge. For this, we are less important. For this, we are less than equal. For this, we ask justice to protect us and recieve pity - and not even real pity. For this, we ask for equality. We stand in the shadow of the justice and equality for Teisha, Nizah, Rita, Brandon and thousands more and remain hungry - remain waiting. Pray that we do not seek vengence.

Mykell said...

Did you see the Syracuse Post-Standard's articles referring to her as "Moses Cannon" and mentioning her transgender status and real name almost as an afterthought?

Gina said...

@Mykell: Most of the Post-Standard's articles were written by their crime reporter Jim O'Hara, whose trans-awareness seems to be back in the caveman days. Almost all the reader's comments following those articles are neanderthal as well. There have been a couple of writers for that usually conservative paper who've actually been more respectful and the local tv news coverage was all over the place. GLAAD actually hosted a "reporting on trans-issues" seminar back in April of this year and had Donna Rose speaking to Syracuse and nearby upstate NY media outlets. Andy Marra from GLAAD spoke to papers just before and during the trial. The improvement was minimal but slightly visible (except for O'Hara's coverage). Oddly, the AP, which has progressive trans-reporting guidelines, had very oinky coverage from a local stringer who didn't follow those guidelines in the least.

Gina said...

In another awful turn of events, the father of Johnny Gaston (DeLee's friend) and Jasmine Gaston (DeLee's girlfriend) was shot in the neck for what appears to be a retaliation shooting for Johnny and Jasmine filling out police reports back in November which were highly incriminating to Dwight DeLee (Teish's convicted murderer). Mr. Gaston is in very serious condition and another man shot at the same time as Mr. Gaston is refusing to talk with police. During the trial, neither of the Gastons were cooperative witnesses, perhaps because they knew what would happen if they talked. As I said during the trial, Judge Walsh did not take witness intimidation seriously enough. Btw, the jury was not aware this was going on when they made their verdict.