A man pleaded guilty for fatally assaulting a transgender woman, moments before the jury was to begin for his trial. the transgender assault happened in 2013.
Twenty-five-year-old James Dixon pleaded guilty to killing 21-year-old Islan Nettles only because she was transgender. Dixon beat Islan to death in 2013. He punched and kicked her in the head after finding out that she was a transgender.
Apparently Dixon confessed that he and his friends came across a group of women while walking along Eight Avenue near West 148 Street. He thought Islan was a girl and approached her.
His friends expressed disapproval and he asked her whether she was a guy to confirm. When Islan said yes, he beat her, punched her in the face and knocked her down. Even so, he did not stop at that and continued beating her after her fall. The transgender woman fall gave her head injury, reported Jezebel.
Dixon pleaded guilty after a judge informed him that his taped confession can be presented in front of a jury at trial.
Dixon stated that he was “fooled by a transgender” prior to the attack and that was the cause of his violent rage. His statement reveals his “trans panic” defence, reported Gothamist. “Trans panic” defense means attacking transgender people blaming them by saying that they misrepresented their gender. In most cases, after the discovery of the woman’s gender the attacker loses his mental sanity.
Police arrested Dixon in March 2015. Previously, they arrested another man Paris Wilson and charged him with misdemeanor assault and harassment. However, they dropped the charges against him. In an interview in 2015, Dixon said, “They got the wrong guy. I didn’t kill anyone.”
The assailant claimed that he was at his aunty’s place at the time of the attack. People were outraged by the murder and some blamed New York Police Department for its inaction. Nevertheless, the assailant was finally convicted.
Cy Vance, Manhattan District Attorney, said in a statement, “With this conviction, James Dixon has finally been brought to justice for this brutal and lethal assault; Members of the transgender community are far too often the targets of violent crime. I hope that this conviction provides some comfort to Ms. Nettles’ family and friends, and affirms my office’s commitment to protecting members of the LGBTQ community.”
Violence against LGBT is not an unusual happening. However, this violence not only harms them physically but also can lead to a mental health problem, according to a study.