Murder case raises question: Do LGBT hate crime laws work?

By : Wire Report
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Each year, for the past three years, LGBT advocacy groups have tallied the killings of more than 20 transgender people in the U.S. Yet state or federal hate crime laws are rarely used to prosecute the slayings.

Now many LGBT-rights groups are questioning the effectiveness of the laws, saying they sometimes focus too tightly on individual acts without addressing underlying bias or wider violence. The volatile issue was back in the spotlight this week as Missouri authorities investigated the killing of a transgender teen who was stabbed in the genitals and had her eyes gouged out.

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Mississippian sentenced to 49 years in anti-transgender hate crime

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Joshua Vallum

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – For the first time in the U.S., a person was sentenced on federal hate crimes charges for killing a transgender person.

Joshua Vallum appeared before a federal judge May 15 in Gulfport, Mississippi, after pleading guilty in December to hate crimes charges in the 2015 death of 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson.

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Alabama transgender teen killed in Mississippi was beaten to death, investigator says

By : Wire Report
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LUCEDALE, Miss. (AP) – An investigator says a transgender teenager who was found buried on the suspect’s father’s property in George County earlier this year was beaten to death.

George County sheriff’s Capt. Ben Brown told the Sun Herald that 28-year-old defendant Josh Vallum had known 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson for about nine to 11 months, but investigators are unsure if Vallum knew Williamson was a transgender woman.

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