US carries out first execution of a transgender
The United States government has executed a transgender woman for the first time in history after being convicted of murder.
A statement from the state prison department said 49-year-old Amber McLaughlin was declared dead shortly before 7pm local time at the Diagnostic and Correctional Centre in the town of Bonne Terre, Missouri on Tuesday.
McLaughlin, who was said to have died by lethal injection, was the first transgender person of either sex to be executed in the country, and the first person to die by capital punishment this year in America.
She was convicted of murdering a former girlfriend in 2003 in a suburb of St. Louis, before she transitioned.
McLaughlin reportedly stalked the victim to the point where the ex-partner sought a restraining order and on the day of the killing, McLaughlin waited for the woman, named Beverly Guenther, as she left work.
Guenther was reportedly raped and stabbed to death with a kitchen knife, after which her body was dumped near the Mississippi river.
In 2006, a jury found McLaughlin guilty of murder but was deadlocked on what her punishment should be.
Consequently, the trial judge stepped in and imposed the death penalty as such intervention is allowed in Missouri as well as in Indiana.
While citing the fact that a jury did not sentence McLaughlin to death, her lawyers asked Governor Mike Parson to commute her sentence to life in prison.
According to her attorneys, “The death sentence now being considered does not come from the conscience of the community but from a single judge”.
They also argued that McLaughlin had had a troubled childhood and suffered from mental health issues.
Her cause had drawn support from high-profile people including two Missouri members of the US House of Representatives, Cori Bush, and Emanuel Cleaver.
The lawmakers, in a letter to the governor, said McLaughlin was subjected to constant beating with a baton by her adoptive father who even tasered her.