Guilty Verdict: Historic Hate-Crime Trial for Killing of Transgender Woman

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  • Source: WJBF
  • 02/24/2024
Friday marked the nation's first federal trial for a hate crime based on gender identity, with a South Carolina man convicted guilty of murdering a Black transgender woman.

Following around four hours of deliberation, the jury found Daqua Lameek Ritter guilty of a hate crime in connection with Dime Doe's 2019 murder. According to the AP, Ritter was also found guilty of obstructing justice and using a weapon in connection with the deadly shot. There is no set date for sentence at this time. Ritter may spend up to life behind bars without the possibility of release. Prior to the cases going to trial, federal authorities had prosecuted hate crimes based on gender identification.

The covert sexual connection between Doe and Ritter—who had become irritated upon learning of their romance in the tiny hamlet of Allendale—was the main focus of the four-day trial over Doe's murder. This was evident from witness evidence and text messages that the FBI had retrieved.

The prosecution said Ritter had shot Doe three times with a.22 pistol to stop him from disclosing further information about his relationship with a transgender lady. In police interviews that the prosecution provided, Ritter claimed not to have seen Doe on the day of her death. However, hours before police discovered Doe lying in the vehicle, parked in a driveway, body camera footage from a traffic check of the subject revealed Ritter's unique left wrist tattoo on a person in the passenger seat.

During the trial, Lindsey Vann, the defense attorney, said that there was no tangible proof linking Ritter. Ritter was expected to be with her because of their close friendship and regular vehicle trips, she claimed, adding that state law enforcement never completed a gunshot residue test that he freely did. However, prosecutors said that Ritter attempted to conceal their connection as much as possible from them, according to texts that the FBI recovered.

She deleted hundreds of messages exchanged in the month before to her death after he urged her to do so. Things were tight between them just before Doe passed away.

She claimed in a July 29, 2019, communication that Ritter had not returned her kindness; he said that he believed they had an agreement that she did not need the "extra stuff."

Ritter's defense team claimed that the sample was only a "snapshot" of their correspondence. After the verdict, Brook Andrews, an assistant US attorney for the District of South Carolina, told reporters, "This case stands as a testament to our committed effort to fight violence that is targeted against those who may identify as a member of the opposite sex, for their sexual orientation, or for any other protected characteristics."


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