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Man convicted in the first federal hate trial for gender identity discrimination

In a landmark federal trial, a South Carolina man was found guilty of killing a Black transgender woman, Dime Doe, in what was believed to be a hate crime based on her gender identity. Daqua Lameek Ritter was convicted of shooting Doe three times in August 2019, using a firearm in connection with the crime, and obstructing justice.

The trial revealed a secret sexual relationship between Doe and Ritter, which had caused Ritter to grow agitated as their affair was exposed in their small town. Text messages obtained by the FBI showed Ritter trying to dispel rumors about the relationship and keeping it hidden from his main girlfriend at the time.

The Department of Justice presented evidence of text exchanges between Ritter and Doe in the weeks leading up to her death, showing tensions and disagreements between them. Witnesses testified against Ritter, with one saying that he appeared dirty, smelly, and nervous after the killing, and gave a smirk when asked if he had killed Doe.

Ritter’s defense attorneys argued that the prosecution only showed a limited sampling of messages between Ritter and Doe, pointing to instances where Doe encouraged Ritter and he thanked her for her kindness. However, the jury ultimately found him guilty of the hate crime based on gender identity.

This case was noted as a testament to the efforts to fight violence targeted against those who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community and other protected characteristics.

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