Man gets 49 years' in anti-transgender hate crime

2017-05-16 09:56


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Gulfport - A Mississippi man has been sentenced to 49 years in prison for the first-ever conviction on federal hate crime charges arising from the killing of a transgender person.

A federal judge on Monday sentenced Joshua Vallum, who had previously been sentenced to life without parole on state murder charges.

Vallum acknowledged guilt in the 2015 death of 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson. The case had been closely watched by LGBT advocates nationwide.

US District Judge Louis Guirola could have sentenced Vallum to life in federal prison, but stuck to a sentence suggested in a plea agreement between defence attorneys and prosecutors, citing Vallum's neglected childhood and other issues.

Prosecutors say Vallum killed Williamson to keep fellow gang members from discovering they'd been having sex.

The Latin Kings gang's rules ban homosexual activity.

Read more on:    us  |  gay rights

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