A man was indicted Friday morning on a second-degree murder charge as a hate crime in the shooting death of a transgendered person in Syracuse. The victim who identified herself as a female, Teish Green, was killed in November. A grand jury indicted Dwight DeLee on three counts, second-degree murder charge as a hate crime, second-degree murder not as a hate crime and a weapons possession.
"The significance of this, first of all, this is the first time that I'm aware of that we've indicted someone as a hate crime obviously it's an additional element which is what we intend to prove to a jury," District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick said.
In November, Teish Green was shot to death while sitting in a car outside a home on Seymour Street in Syracuse. Fitzpatrick says on that November night, Dwight DeLee and some others made comments about Green's sexual orientation, then DeLee went into a home, got a rifle and shot Green. Green was born with the name Moses Cannon.
After Green was killed there was a lot of outrage, many calling for the murder to be tried under the hate crime law. That includes Carrie Elliott. She is part of a not for profit that serves older gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered people in the area.
"Hopefully it helps the broader community recognize that these prejudices are out there and motivate people to commit crimes and hopefully it would deter somebody else from committing this type of crime," Elliott said.
Barrie Gewanter is the Executive Director of the Central New York chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
"I think it's very significant that the DA chose to seek an indictment as a hate crime because this was a tragedy, and because it's an acknowlegement that this murder was termination of a young and vibrant life was motivated by prejudice," Gewanter said.
Outside Green's home there is still a memorial. Those closest to her say, while they are happy the murder was indicted as a hate crime, Teish is still gone.
"We miss her real bad, taking it one day at a time," Arthur Bailey said.
DeLee is behind bars and still needs to be arraigned. Instead of a minimum of 15 years-to-life, the hate crime charge raises the sentencing if convicted to a minimum of 20-to-life.