Mississippian to be sentenced in anti-transgender hate crime

Sheriff's Department

"It's the first of its kind for hate crimes of a transgender person".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged to utilize hate crime laws.

The federal case itself moved quickly.

When the Justice Department announced in December that Vallum had pleaded guilty to hate crime violations, LGBT rights groups lauded the department's actions.

Vallum pleaded guilty earlier to murder charges in state court. BuzzFeed News reports the state does not have its own hate crimes law on the books. However, his lawyers have never contested evidence that Vallum had long known Williamson was transgender.

According to prosecutors, Vallum killed Williamson to prevent his friends from finding out they were having sex.

When Vallum learned that his secret about Williamson may get out, he chose to kill her on May 28, 2015.

Vallum was at a fellow gang member's house on Dauphin Island, Alabama, when he said he saw Williamson, picked her up and drove her to his family home in rural George County to carry out of the murder.

He then proceeded to stab her in the body and head with a pocketknife, they added.

The roommate also testified that Vallum once told both her and Williamson that his gang would kill the couple if Williamson's transgender status was discovered.

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin to fight in September
The fight is done. "When he went to the ropes, I just didn't have the strength to go after him and do some damage", Chavez said. Tonight's fight should be a prelude to that match, so I see Alvarez cruising to a decision win with his power and speed.

The case, watched nationally amid concerns transgender women are particularly vulnerable to violence, drew comment from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The federal government was able to designate the murder as a hate crime because MS has not implemented protections for those who commit crimes motivated by gender bias.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Southern District of MS sentenced 29-year-old Joshua Brandon Vallum to 49 years behind bars for assaulting and murdering Mercedes Williamson.

This was the first case where a victim had been targeted because of gender identity that had been prosecuted under the USA federal hate crime law, the Department of Justice said in a statement. Phyllis Gerstenfeld is a professor of criminal justice at California State University, Stanislaus. However, federal prosecutors brought an additional suit for a hate crime because MS doesn't have a statute protecting people against hate crimes based on their gender identity.

CORNISH: But in MS, prosecutors got lucky.

Williamson tried to escape, prosecutors said, but Vallum chased her into the woods, where he repeatedly hit her in the head with a hammer.

The Human Rights Campaign has written that it is "clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of colour".

GERSTENFELD: So a prosecution like this can set a good example that might give prosecutors the confidence to go forward with these cases. Perhaps he was shocked by the statement of Jefferson Sessions. He said the sentencing quote, "reflects the importance of holding individuals accountable when they commit violent acts against transgender individuals".

The Justice Department released a forceful and surprising statement reaffirming its commitment to prosecuting bias-related crimes against transgender individuals. Some transgender activists say that isn't enough. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was signed into law in 2009 and expanded existing federal hate crimes law to protect LGBTQ and disabled people.

CORNISH: That's Harper Jean Tobin, policy director for the National Center for Transgender Equality. He originally lied to police officers, claiming he freaked out when he was told she was transgender and killed her.

Related News:

  • Arsenal failure to make top four would be "frustrating", Wenger says

    Some would consider it a miracle if Arsenal manage to maintain their streak of always finishing in the top four under Wenger. With their UCL hopes out of their hands, the FC panel debate Arsenal's odds of reaching a top-four spot at season's end.
    Sabathia Stops His Own Losing Streak, Yankees Topple Royals 7-1

    Sabathia Stops His Own Losing Streak, Yankees Topple Royals 7-1

    But the Yankees didn't have to hit their way through the Royals. "I don't think what he did early on was a fluke", Girardi said. Sabathia struck out Salvador Perez and Bonifacio before walking Soler and surrendering an infield single to Alex Gordon.
    Jefferies Group LLC Boosts Dcc Plc (DCC) Price Target to GBX 8500

    Jefferies Group LLC Boosts Dcc Plc (DCC) Price Target to GBX 8500

    Now 11 brokers are covering BGEO Group (LON:BGEO), 6 rate it "Strong Buy", 1 "Buy", 0 "Sell", 0 "Strong Sell", while 4 "Neutral". The firm earned "Buy" rating on Thursday, February 11 by Peel Hunt. (LON:STVG) on Tuesday, December 20 with "Buy" rating.
  • Norwich City transfer rumours: David Wagner ready to quit Huddersfield

    When asked if the Owls are the favourites to go up, Winnall said: "Of course, we are". We have grown as a team and grown as a club as well .
    White House: Trump's morning tweets about Comey 'not a threat'

    White House: Trump's morning tweets about Comey 'not a threat'

    In its turn, Russian Federation has denied the allegations of its interference in the November election, calling them absurd. Trump's aides told reporters that they feared their offices were bugged and that they were careful about what they said".

    'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2': Marvel's 15th straight No. 1 opening

    Its global gross to date is $283 million. "The Fate of the Furious ", $8.5 million ($30.1 million international). In two weeks of worldwide release, the film has also made $269 million overseas .
  • Republican who helped pass health overhaul meeting voters

    Republican who helped pass health overhaul meeting voters

    I don't know how The Baltimore Sun prioritizes front page articles, but health care always seems to be on the front page. There were long speeches by individuals who shared their own stories. "Write a book", a voice from the crowd said.
    Playboy model loses bid to toss out privacy invasion case

    Playboy model loses bid to toss out privacy invasion case

    In an apology on her Snapchat account shortly after she shared the original photo, Mathers said the photo was "a huge mistake". She added the caption, "If I can't unsee this then you can't either", while posing with her hand over her mouth as if shocked.
    Trusts were told about security patch last month — NHS cyberattack

    Trusts were told about security patch last month — NHS cyberattack

    The company said the virus has been localized and "technical work is underway to destroy it and update the antivirus protection". Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to a computer or its data and demands money from the user to release it.
  • What Do Analysts Suggest For AK Steel Holding Corporation (AKS)

    The High Revenue estimate is predicted as 3.16 Billion, while the Low Revenue Estimate prediction stands at 2.96 Billion. The rating scale runs from 1 to 5 with 5 indicating a Strong Sell, 1 indicating a Strong Buy and 3 indicating a Hold.
    Priyanka Chopra may get Hasselhoff to India?

    Priyanka Chopra may get Hasselhoff to India?

    Baywatch follows devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) as he butts heads with a brash new recruit (Zac Efron). " Quantico " will be back on ABC next season , albeit for a shorter time - and also with a new person in charge.
    New Zealand's 2018 November Tour To Be Perfect Preparation For World Cup

    New Zealand's 2018 November Tour To Be Perfect Preparation For World Cup

    New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said the November game would have multiple benefits for both teams. They played Japan in Tokyo twice in 1987 (the matches weren't given test match status) and again in 2013.


Most liked

Chelsea look to maintain momentum ahead of FA Cup final
Terry was an unused substitute at West Brom and has not started in the Premier League since the September 11 draw with Swansea. Antonio Conte believes there is a possibility of Chelsea improving and he'll stay to ensure that happens.

Sonia Gandhi doesn't name any Prez candidate in meet with Mamata
Factors like caste, political issues will be considered while deciding the candidate", Banerjee said after the meeting. We will meet again next week or in about 10 days", Banerjee told reporters outside the 10 Janpath residence of Gandhi.

Melissa McCarthy's SNL return as Sean Spicer ends with passionate Trump kiss
Arriving at Trump Tower, Spicer challenged Trump in the sketch, only for the angst to turn to romance. It was later corrected to say Spicer was "among" the bushes, not "in" the bushes.

Home Court Mastery of Celtics Over Wizards by Winning all Nine Games
The animosity towards the Wizards player stems from his Game 3 run-in with Boston's Olynk that almost caused an all-out brawl. Boston finished with 33 assists compared to 21 assists for Washington , illustrating the Celtics excellent team basketball.

Trump Keeps Controversies Smoldering With a Warning for Comey
Multiple officials, including Pence, said the president was acting at the behest of Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In that case, Nixon was mad at Mr Cox for seeking access to secret White House tapes of the president's conversations.

Rohit, Shami included in India's Champions Trophy squad
Discussed for remaining some players Rishabh Pant , Dinesh Karthik, Shardul Thakur and Suresh Raina. New Zealand will play hosts England in Group A, as well as Australia and Bangladesh.

Scotland needs choice on independence at end of Brexit: Sturgeon
Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie said: "People are getting exhausted of the SNP and all their promises". And her flirtation with Efta would leave us with all the obligations but no voice in decision-making".

Ivory Coast defense minister says deal reached with soldiers
A mutinous soldier gestures as he stands guard at the checkpoint of the entrance of Bouake, Ivory Coast , May 15, 2017. Many schools in Abidjan remained closed and the African Development Bank told employees to remain home, workers said.

Uber lends its brand to United Kingdom general election voter registration drive
This entitles you to nominate a trusted friend or relative to vote on your behalf at your polling station. The deadline to apply to vote by proxy at the general election is 5pm on Wednesday May 31.

Police chief shot in upstate NY, suspect barricaded in home
The suspect remains barricaded inside a home and streets in the area are closed while the standoff situation continues. A man who answered the phone at the Maybrook Police Department says the agency wasn't releasing details.

North Korea missile test was 'new type of ballistic rocket'
It marked the North's first provocation since South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in took office Wednesday. The council demanded North Korea halt its tests and said it was ready to impose further sanctions.

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners tied it 1-1 in the fifth when Ben Gamel punched a double over the head of Pillar to score Jarrod Dyson from third. The rare play added some insurance for the Blue Jays an inning after Jose Bautista's three-run homer broke the game open.

Abbas warns of painful steps against Palestinian rival Hamas
According to former White House official Dennis Ross, the gap between Israelis and Palestinians "has probably never been greater". Palestinians are losing hope in getting an independent country and an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

Bernie Sanders Calls Out Trump for Praising Australia's Universal Health Care
The bill is set for revisions in the Senate under Republican majority leader Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders was being interviewed on MSNBC by Chris Haynes when the clip aired.

Coutinho 'happy' with Barcelona link
Watching on, Slaven Bilic must have felt tempted to reach for the nearest white towel and throw it on the pitch. While Coutinho's future continues to be called into question, so does that of Daniel Sturridge.