Man Found Guilty in First Federal Gender-Based Hate Crime Trial

Photo Illustration by Erin O’Flynn/The Daily Beast/WJBF
Photo Illustration by Erin O’Flynn/The Daily Beast/WJBF

A South Carolina man was convicted of a hate crime for the 2019 murder of a transgender woman, ending the first federal hate crime trial based on gender identity.

Daqua Lameek Ritter was found guilty of fatally shooting Dime Doe, with whom he had been in a secret relationship. Prosecutors alleged that Ritter shot Doe three times to prevent others from discovering that he was having an affair with a trans woman. They presented police interviews in which Ritter denied seeing Doe on the day she died, which contradicted photo evidence of the two of them in a car together.

Ritter’s friends gave conflicting testimony about specific actions he took after the murder, such as disposing of incriminating evidence like clothes and a handgun. But they agreed that his behavior turned erratic and on edge as rumors swirled that he had murdered Doe.

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The defense argued that the witnesses’ testimonies were confusing and suggested that one of them misrepresented what happened. They told the jury to question everything they’d heard thus far.

The jury rendered a guilty verdict after four hours of deliberation. Ritter awaits sentencing but could face a life sentence without parole.

Hate crimes of any persuasion are notoriously difficult to prosecute, and gender-based cases have been particularly elusive. Ritter’s case is the first in which a gender-based hate crime has made it to trial, let alone resulting in a conviction.

“This case stands as a testament to our committed effort to fight violence that is targeted against those who may identify as a member of the opposite sex, for their sexual orientation or for any other protected characteristics,” Brook Andrews, a federal attorney, told reporters after the trial.

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