Monica Roberts

Dwight DeLee Trial To Start June 11

Filed By Monica Roberts | April 27, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: African-American, hate crimes against LGBT people, justice, Lateisha Green, legal, Monica Roberts, transphobia, trial

Now ts-lateisha green2.jpgthat Allen Andrade is rotting in jail for the rest of his life, it's now time for the transgender community's attention to focus on the other alleged murderer facing hate crimes charges for killing a transwoman.

"The decision to prosecute Lateisha's murder as a hate crime sends a clear message that targeting transgender people for violence will not be tolerated," TLDEF executive director Michael Silverman said. "Lateisha's senseless death demonstrates the increased risk of violence transgender people face, but we are hopeful that justice will be done, and that the outcome will help prevent future violence against transgender people."

20 year old Dwight DeLee of Syracuse pleaded not guilty in Onondaga County Court to charges of second-degree murder and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon in the November 14, 2008 shooting death of Lateisha Green at a house party.

Her untimely death occurred just as the worldwide transgender community was beginning to gather together for our annual Remembering Our Dead commemorations.

ts-lateisha Green shrine1.jpg22 year old Lateisha was transitioning at the time of her death.

Note to Syracuse, NY media peeps: y'all really need to read the AP Stylebook, GLAAD Media Reference Guide and the NCAVP guidelines for reporting on transgender people.

So far the local Syracuse media is failing miserably in terms of respectful coverage of Lateisha. They are consistently using her old name and there's rampant usage of incorrect pronouns.

DeLee is being held at the County Justice Center jail with no bail, and the DeLee family is already trying to sow the seeds for the 'trans panic' defense and garner sympathy for him.

Never mind the fact that Green's family not only lost a child to this senseless murder, her brother Mark Cannon was shot in the same incident as well.

ts-lateisha green3.jpgRoxanne Green, stated at the time the decision was made to prosecute this case as a hate crime. "I am grateful that Teish's death will not be in vain, and that it will be prosecuted as a hate crime, which it was."

"It took a long time for Teish to live her life openly and proudly. When she finally stood up and began living as who she was, she was taken away from me. I can't understand how anyone can hate someone so much because of who they are, and I hope that no other mother has to mourn a child killed because of who she was. I hope that justice will be done."

If DeLee is convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison, and like Allen Andrade, has a prior criminal history as well.

tldef logo.gifThe New York City based Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund is assisting Green's family, and hopefully these reprehensible tactics will massively fail in a much larger college town like Syracuse, NY just as it did in Greeley, CO.

(Crossposted at TransGriot)

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Monica, thanks for reminding us about this case. We did great things with the media attention we were able to focus on Angie Zapata's trial. If we ever hope to change public attitudes towards violence against trans people, especially TWOC, we must focus similar attention on this trial. We must make clear to the law enforcement authorities in Syracuse, the media and the public, that we are watching and will not be silent if just punishment is not meted out to Lateisha's murderer.

Agreed Abby. We need to take the momentum from the Zapata case and apply the same amount of pressure and coverage to this one - especially since the victim is a POC.

Catherine CC | April 27, 2009 5:18 PM

The thing is... It's unacceptable that this case is being tried as a second degree murder.

DeLee made homophobic slurs, walked away to get a rifle, then returned and opened fire on the car in which Letisha and her brother were sitting.

A charge of second degree murder is inappropriate.

Even so - DeLee committed this murder while on parole and the hate crime addition will add to the sentence as well, so it's highly unlikely he will be leaving prison anytime in the near future.

It's a shame he's not going to get the needle.

Thanks for the links to style guides btw...

Is the death penalty the best we can do to remember Lateisha?

Thanks for reminding us about this case.

BTW, you might also suggest that media folks read up on the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association's Stylebook Supplement on LGBT Terminology. Maybe they'll take that one more seriously, seeing as it was created by their peers.