08/21/09 – by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
The man who murdered Lateisha Green was sentenced to the maximum allowed under New York law for manslaughter. Dwight DeLee will spend the next 25 years in prison for manslaughter charge plus another five years for a hate crime. Last month jurors convicted DeLee of manslaughter largely because they believed that he had not intended to kill Ms. Green. Jurors rejected the charge of second-degree murder on that basis. Typically, first degree murder is considered for cases where premeditation has occurred. Second-degree murder is charged when someone murders someone else without premeditation for that direct crime. Manslaughter is usually invoked in cases where death occurs in instances where there was not the intent to kill. Part of the reason why jurors returned with a conviction of manslaughter is because DeLee appears to have fired at Mark Cannon instead of targeting Ms. Green directly. Mr. Cannon was struck in the arm and the bullet then killed Ms. Green.
Mr. DeLee who is 20 years old will likely that of jail around the time that he 50 years old. Syracuse Police Chief Gary Miguel stated “Dwight DeLee goes into the residence at 411 Seymour Street, returns with a 22 caliber rifle, puts the rifle to the driver’s side window of that vehicle and fires one round, and that one round strikes Mark Cannon in the arm, and continues on and strikes Moses Cannon (also known as Lateisha Green) in the chest area.”
Lateisha Green had been the target of other hate crimes in the past. She had been living as a woman since the age of 16 and received a slash across the face in high school. During testimony, several people reported that homophobic slurs had been used to describe Ms. Green, but it was unclear if any of those came from Mr. DeLee.
Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), stated at the of the trial “While nothing can make up for the loss Lateisha’s family has suffered, this sentence helps to bring some closure to Lateisha’s family. The sentence sends a clear message that violence targeted at transgender people will be heavily penalized.” This is the second hate crime conviction involving a transperson.