04:04 GMT +313 December 2019
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    US Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Transgender Person

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    A Man from the US state of Mississippi pleaded guilty to killing a person based on gender identity in the first federal hate crime case involving a transgender victim, the Department of Justice said in a press release.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Joshua Brandon Vallum, 29, admitted that he murdered a 17-year-old transgender woman, Mercedes Williamson, after having sexual relationships with her, the release stated on Wednesday.

    US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the historic case reaffirms the Justice Department's constant effort to eliminate any type of hate crimes and protect the rights of all Americans.

    Vallum is already facing life in prison after pleading guilty to murdering the woman in a Mississippi state court. While the state convicted Vallum on murder charges, the federal government was able to prosecute him for a hate crime because Mississippi does not have a hate crimes statute “that protects people from bias crimes based on their gender identity,” the release explained.


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