THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — In what amounts to a surprising turn of events, CeCe McDonald pleaded guilty to second degree manslaughter on the third day of her murder trial. She is reported to be sentenced to 3 years and 5 month in prison next month.
Among some of the possible reasons for the plea agreement is the judge’s refusal to allow certain evidence, the attempt by the DA to bring in McDonald’s past minor crime history and perhaps the makeup of the jury. It was also brought up that McDonald had a weapon and the deceased did not. Keep in mind that none of these things have been confirmed by the defense team at this point.
According to Hennepin County District Attorney Mike Freeman the plea agreement was suggested by McDonald’s lawyer.
Freeman: “My feeling is that this is an appropriate resolution to a tragic situation. One person is dead and another person going to prison for 41 months.”
Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s Dean Spade was at the trial. He spoke to Pretty Queer:
“At about 11:30 or 11:45, they brought folks in and it was to do a plea deal. They did not continue jury selection. Basically what that means is that CeCe took the stand and her lawyer went through with her the facts of the evening she was attacked, and then the prosecutor and judge asked her a few questions and she pled guilty. . . .
My understanding is that from the perspective of her attorneys this was a legal victory even though it is unjust because this is one of the lowest possible plea deals she could get.
It is obviously not a victory for justice, but one of the better legal options. Of course, there were a lot of mixed feelings and a lot of sadness in the courtroom.”
More from Dean Spears: http://www.prettyqueer.com/2012/05/02/dean-spade-speaks-on-cece-mcdonald-trial/
This is a great write-up on the CeCe McDonald saga by Jillian T. Weiss:
“Many defendants are pressured into plea deals when facing hyper-aggressive charges. In this case, Ms. McDonald faced 40 years in prison under Minnesota’s second degree murder charge. The judge’s rulings against her on the evidence were also likely determining factors in her decision. These would have allowed in the gruesomely bloody shirt of the victim, but not his swastika tattoo, her own bad check conviction, but not the theft convictions of the witnesses against her. She also would have had to face the likely transphobia of the jury. . . .”
Stay tuned. I’ll update as more details become available, especially from the defense team.
For details on the events leading up to the charges: http://lexiecannes.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/the-saga-of-jailed-trans-woman-chrishaun-cece-mcdonald/
More details and comments from DA Freeman: http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2012/05/02/cece-mcdonald-pleads-guilty-manslaughter
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