First Federal Gender-Based Hate Crime Trial Yields Guilty Verdict

In the nation’s first federal hate crime trial, a South Carolina man was found guilty on Friday (Feb. 23) of killing a Black transgender woman.

Associated Press reports it took roughly four hours for jurors to reach a verdict, convicting Daqua Lameek Ritter for the 2019 murder of Dime Doe.

RELATED: Family of Gay Black Teen Found Dead on Train Tracks Speaks Out

Secret Affair Turns Deadly In First Federal Hate Crime Trial 

Prosecutors accused Ritter of shooting his secret lover three times in the head with a .22 caliber handgun to ensure their affair remained confidential.

He was subsequently found guilty of a hate crime, obstructing justice, and using a firearm to execute the murder. Ritter is facing life without parole and awaits a sentencing date.

Over the duration of the four-day trial, the secret relationship between Doe and Ritter was centered. Prosecutors argued text messages and witness testimony verified the convicted killer became enraged as rumors of their affair intensified in the small town of Allendale. It has a population of 7,579.

Ben Garner, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina told Wis News 10,” He killed her to silence her.” 

Brook Andrews, holding the same judicial position stated, 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”.

Although this case is historic, it isn’t the first hate crime based on gender identity that federal officials have prosecuted — the others just never reached trial.

A Mississippi man was convicted after confessing to the murder of a 17-year-old transgender woman in 2017.  Upon accepting a plea deal, he was sentenced to 49 years in prison.

The Defense & Prosecution Go Head-To-Head

Ritter’s defense was shaky as he claimed he did not see Dime Doe the day she was found deceased but police body cam footage told a different story. A video of a mid-afternoon traffic stop showed Doe and the left wrist of a person in the reclined passenger seat adorning a tattoo identical to Ritter’s. Only a few hours later her body appeared slumped in the same car parked in a driveway.

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