LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS In Detroit, Michigan last month, a jury found Larry B. Gaulding guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the death of trans person of color Ashton O’Hara. Last week, during sentencing, the judge handed down a sentence of 30 to 60 years for Gaulding — a surprising turnabout from an expected 15-year sentence. O’Hara was killed during the summer of 2015.
According to Equality Michigan, family members, the Detroit Metropolitan Police Department and the organization itself, worked to ensure Gaulding was held fully accountable for O’Hara’s death.
Equality Michigan’s Yvonne Siferd:
“Just last month, we were heartbroken when the jury came back with a guilty verdict for voluntary manslaughter rather than murder one or two, especially since Gaulding showed no signs of remorse throughout the proceedings. But, yesterday everything changed. Far surpassing our expectations, Judge Cameron used his judicial discretion and exceeded the sentencing guidelines, which would have otherwise capped at 15 years. Instead, Gaulding was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison, and will likely never again have the opportunity to walk the streets of Detroit or harm another trans woman.”
In the Philippines last month, US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton was convicted in the murder of trans woman Jennifer Laude and sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment by the Olongapo Regional Trial Court. The involvement of a US serviceman attracted international attention to Laude’s death.
Laude’s body was found in a motel bathroom in October, 2014 with her head in a toilet bowl. Pemberton admits choking Laude, but claimed she was alive elsewhere in the bathroom when he left. Pemberton currently is serving his sentence in the Philippines, but has since made motions to appeal the verdict as well as the fines levied against him.
It is gratifying to see justice for our victims as well as the heavy sentencing being handed down — even in cases where the law and/or evidence isn’t quite as strong as we’d like it to be.
My earlier report on Laude’s death: https://lexiecannes.com/2014/10/14/update-3-philippines-trans-woman-murdered-by-a-u-s-soldier/
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