DeLee: guilty of hate crime
Fri, 17 Jul 2009 21:57:38 GMT —
It was a historic day in Onondaga County court on Friday. Jurors handed down their verdict in a hate crime trial. The jury decided that Dwight DeLee shot 22 -year- old Lateisha Green last November in Syracuse. Green was sitting in a car with her brother Mark Cannon outside a party on Seymour Street. One shot was fired into the car and it grazed Mark and hit Lateisha.
The jury acquitted DeLee of a more serious charge, second-degree murder as a hate crime. Jurors found DeLee is guilty of 1st degree manslaughter as a hate crime.
"Justice has been done but we will never get to see Teish again," said Elliott Green, an uncle of the victim.
Not only is it the first hate crime murder trial in Onondaga County, it's the first hate crime conviction involving the death of a transgender person in New York State and the second one in the country.
"For every lesbian, gay, bi sexual, transgender person, it's a powerful moment," said Michael Silverman, founder of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Clarence Johnson, DeLee's attorney, had no comment as he left court. He did say inside the courtroom to the judge that the verdict was inconsistent because Johnson said the jury found DeLee guilty of 1st degree manslaughter as a hate crime but not guilty of 1st degree manslaughter not as a hate crime. Prosecutors don't agree with that.
Green was born Moses Cannon. Prosecutors say she was killed over her sexual orientation.
"Really what's important here is Moses was senselessly killed," said Assistant District Attorney Matt Doran.
DeLee was also convicted of criminal possession of a weapon. Sentencing is scheduled for August 18th. DeLee faces a minimum of 10 years in state prison and a maximum of 25 years.For additional coverage of this story, click the link below.