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US: First transgender inmate slated for lethal injection

Tuesday, January 3rd 2023 - 20:09 UTC
Full article
McLaughlin has not changed her name legally, so all the documents mention “Scott” not “Amber” McLaughlin has not changed her name legally, so all the documents mention “Scott” not “Amber”

Transgender inmate Amber McLaughlin is scheduled to become Tuesday the first person with that condition to be put to death by lethal injection after Missouri Governor Mike Parson (R) denied that last clemency request. She was convicted of killing her girlfriend in 2003.

McLaughlin has not undertaken any legal process to change her name or begin a physical transition, due to which she remains in the Potosi Correctional Center near St. Louis, an all-male facility. Also for that reason, Governor Parson's and all other legal documents refer to the inmate as Scott McLaughlin.

“McLaughlin’s conviction and sentence remains after multiple, thorough examinations of Missouri law. McLaughlin stalked, raped, and murdered Ms. Guenther. McLaughlin is a violent criminal. Ms. Guenther’s family and loved ones deserve peace. The State of Missouri will carry out McLaughlin’s sentence according to the Court’s order and deliver justice,” Parson said in a statement.

Defense attorney Laurence Komp had based his clemency plea on the fact that jurors were unable to agree unanimously on the death sentence and also cited brain damage and childhood trauma. Scott McLaughlin was convicted for the 2003 rape and murder of Beverly Guenther. “The death sentence now being considered does not come from the conscience of the community — but from a single judge,” the defense argued.

“The investigation recognizes McLaughlin's sincere remorse and so did each and every expert who evaluated her in the years since the trial,” the petition to the governor notes. McLaughlin was “soundly diagnosed with borderline intellectual disability” and “universally diagnosed with brain damage as well as fetal alcohol syndrome,” the defense's arguments went on. With an IQ of 82, McLaughlin has “borderline intellectual and personality disorders, intermittent explosive disorder, and learning disorders,” it was reported.

McLaughlin is to be killed by lethal injection at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Correction Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri after 6 pm on Jan. 3, local time. ”People should know I’m mentally ill,” McLaughlin told local media in a telephone conversation.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), McLaughlin is already “the first trans person to be assigned an execution date in the United States.”

A St. Louis County jury convicted McLaughlin in 2006 of first-degree murder, rape, and armed criminal action but could not agree on the death penalty unanimously, a necessary circumstance in the vast majority of states that execute inmates. “Missouri law considers a non-unanimous jury to be a deadlocked jury, so a rule was used that allows the judge to impose a sentence on his or her own,” the DPIC argued. Judge Steven H. Goldman “relied on aggravating circumstances rejected by the jury to sentence McLaughlin to death,” it went on.

McLaughlin, now 49, had been abandoned by her mother and her adoptive father repeatedly assaulted her. She has also made multiple suicide attempts.

It will be the state’s third execution in nine months, a marked increase from recent years. Leonard Taylor is set to be executed on Feb. 7. Missouri was one of just six states to carry out an execution in 2022.

Categories: United States.

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