America Is About to Execute an Openly Trans Inmate for the First Time - DMT NEWS

Breaking News

America Is About to Execute an Openly Trans Inmate for the First Time

The United States is set to execute an openly transgender person for the first time in the nation’s history, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. 

Amber McLaughlin, a 49-year-old convicted for the 2003 first-degree murder of her ex-girlfriend Beverly Guenther, is set to die by lethal injection in Missouri Tuesday. A jury, however, couldn’t decide if McLaughlin should die for her crime, and her sentence was instead handed down by a St.Louis judge. Most states require that a jury sentence an inmate to death, but Missouri is one of the few that allows a judge to administer the sentence.

McLaughlin and her attorneys are pleading for a last-minute stay from Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, but she has no appeals pending. On Tuesday morning, Parson announced that he would not grant clemency and that the state will carry out McLaughlin’s sentence. 

“McLaughlin stalked, raped, and murdered Ms. Guenther. McLaughlin is a violent criminal," Parson said in the release. "Ms. Guenther's family and loved ones deserve peace. The State of Missouri will carry out McLaughlin’s sentence according to the court's order and deliver justice."

Guenther was granted a restraining order against McLaughlin, and at times, police officers were required to escort her home because of McLaughlin.Then, one day in 2003, Guenther went missing. 

After finding a bloody knife near her car, police arrested McLaughlin, who led them to the body which she had hidden near the Mississippi River. Police determined that McLaughlin had raped Guenther and stabbed her to death with a steak knife. After a four-day trial, McLaughlin was found guilty of first-degree murder and forcible rape. 

McLaughlin’s lawyers had already asked for clemency and that her sentence be commuted to life in prison on Dec. 12. An online petition endorsing McLaughlin’s ask for clemency has been signed by over 5,400 people. 

The petition outlines a history of abuse that McLaughlin suffered as a child, which includes being beaten and tasered by a policeman who was raising her in foster care as well as being locked in a cabinet, starved, and having feces rubbed in her face. The petition also notes the unusual method of McLaughlin’s sentence. 

“After hearing all the evidence, the jurors could not unanimously conclude that Amber should be sentenced to death. They weren’t convinced that Amber deserved the most severe punishment the justice system can offer,” the petition reads. “But because of Missouri’s legal loophole, the trial judge was able to overrule the deadlock jury and impose a death sentence for Amber.”

Larry Komp, McLaughlin’s lawyer, told the Associated Press that McLaughlin’s gender dysphoria diagnosis is a part of the clemency request but “not the main focus.”

“It’s wrong when anyone’s executed regardless, but I hope that this is a first that doesn’t occur,” Komp told NBC News upon first filing for clemency in early December.

Last year the United States put 18 people to death, all by lethal injection, despite an ongoing shortage of drugs that has forced states to come up with new—and often untested—combinations. Several of those executions were botched, with reports of inmates convulsing or vomiting.

Alabama officials had to stop one of their attempts to kill the prisoner because they couldn’t find a vein. Another execution in Alabama took over three hours and is the longest execution in recorded American history, with one critic calling it the “definition of cruel and unusual punishment.”  

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.



via https://www.DMT.NEWS

Mack Lamoureux, Khareem Sudlow