A Missouri inmate has been put to death for a 2003 killing, becoming what is believed to be the first transgender woman executed in the US.
Amber McLaughlin was executed Tuesday night after Missouri’s Republican governor denied mercy. McLaughlin was convicted in 2006 of killing his ex-girlfriend in 2003.
The clemency plea cited McLaughlin’s terrible background and mental health concerns, which the jury never heard.
Cori Bush and Emanuel Cleaver, two Missouri Democrats, had campaigned for McLaughlin’s sentence to be commuted and wrote to Parson last week asking him to stop the execution.
McLaughlin, 49, was sentenced to death after the judge took a unilateral judgment after the jury deadlocked. Congressmen protested that her trial lacked expert witness and mental health evidence.
They also opposed the death sentence as “moral depravity.”
“They’re not about justice; they’re about power.” Bush and Cleaver urged Obama to give mercy to address these injustices.
“Ms McLaughlin’s cruel execution would mark the state’s first use of the death penalty on a woman since the US supreme court reinstated capital punishment in 1976. Even worse, it would not solve any of the systemic problems facing Missourians and people across America, including anti-LGBTQ+ hate and violence, and cycles of violence that target and harm women.” It would ruin another community under the guise of fairness and justice.
Death Penalty Information Center says no openly transgender person has been killed in the US.
On records, McLaughlin dated Beverly Guenther in 2003, before transitioning. After they broke up, McLaughlin visited Guenther’s suburban St. Louis office, occasionally sneaking inside. Guenther got a restraining order and was led to her vehicle by police.
When Guenther didn’t come home on November 20, 2003, neighbors alerted police. Officers spotted a broken knife handle and a blood trail near her vehicle. McLaughlin led police to where Guenther’s corpse had been thrown the next day.
2006 murder conviction for McLaughlin. After a jury deadlocked, a judge condemned McLaughlin to death. Komp said only Missouri and Indiana enable a judge to condemn someone to death.
In 2016, a judge ordered a fresh sentencing hearing, but in 2021, the death sentence was restored.
Transgender convict Jessica Hicklin characterized McLaughlin as terribly shy before transitioning.