Justice for two transgender murder victims; Judge throws book at sentencing

jennifer-laude-ashton oharaLEXIE 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/

O’Hara: https://www.equalitymi.org/media-center/news/ashton-oharas-murderer-sentenced-30-60-years

More on Laude: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/manila/local-news/2015/12/31/top-10-events-shape-2015-449560

Appeal: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/01/24/1545759/prosecutors-ask-court-junk-pemberton-appeal

jennifer-laude-ashton ohara

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Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/

Categories: Deaths, Murder, Judicial, Courts, Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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11 replies

  1. I am compelled to remind the rest of the trans population that one of the PRIMARY reasons that this happens is risk taking by trans women (and trans men I suppose). There is a tendency to look for validation and the best way for many trans women to achieve that is to snag a guy. Apparently, sometimes it doesn’t even matter whether the guy is a good guy or not; the goal is to appear attractive and convincing enough to seem to be a heterosexual woman.

    Way too often, we seem to subscribe to the theory, so succinctly put by Billy Crystal as Fernando Lamas, that “it’s better to look good than to feel good”; a classic case of form over substance. When WE, as a class of human beings, work harder to be self-satisfied with who we are rather than how we appear, I suspect that at least some of this risky conduct AND predation on our kind will become significantly less prominent.

  2. I have been following your media (US &UK) I am starting to feel that these two countries only have trangender people who are colored as all your media says a Transgender woman of color has had this or that happened to them, yet there is no mention of Caucasian Transgenders having anything happening to them. As I am in a country outside of the two I am just trying to understand if there is a precedent for this or is it possible that it’s like here that crimes against Caucasians are either not reported because that no one will listen or something or is there less priority to to crime against Caucasian people just an observation that is all. Not a racist just curious. To me crime against any race is still a crime and all should be reported with equal results.

    • Not sure if you’re trolling or not. People of color in general are more likely to be killed here, not just trans people. Yes, it’s about racism and income disparity. No, it’s not good.

    • The photo isn’t always shared with the text. I pointed out that the victim(s) was a person of color as a reminder of the high incidence of women of color ending up as victims. If we’re to fix the problem, women of color is the obvious starting and focus point.

      • No all is good! I was just asking. I’m myself are a Trans Lady in Australia as we’re having a similar situation here as well with our beautiful Aboriginal Ladies and Gentlemen but with a lot less media attention. Actually only one percent of us report on things here and even less in the Aboriginal Community. It’s why bother no one is going to care!

        • As a middle class white person in the United States I am insulated against all but the most random of violence. Im more likely to be killed by lighting than a gunshot or beating. We have a long and disgusting history of systemic racism here. The risky behavior a previous poster talked about is primarily caused by the vast economic disparity between the white middle class and the average person of color.

    • TWOC are much more likely to be assaulted, because people of COLOR are more likely to be assaulted, and have shorter lives.

      Institutionalized racism is the main problem.


  1. Justice for two 2013 transgender murder victims! – LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS

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