- People are roasting this ‘traditional’ take on marriage with a hilarious meme Saturday 5:17 PM
- The internet just collectively realized that the Neopets of the world must be hungry Saturday 4:00 PM
- Alt-right message board 8chan was served a search warrant Saturday 3:06 PM
- O.J. Simpson just joined Twitter in the most bizarre fashion Saturday 1:20 PM
- Prominent phone-hacking firm says it can unlock any iPhone for law enforcement Saturday 12:39 PM
- Hundreds of police officers belong to extremist Facebook groups, investigation finds Saturday 9:31 AM
- How to watch Tyson Fury vs. Tom Schwarz online Saturday 8:00 AM
- ‘Late Night’ is a disappointing, tepid comedy Saturday 7:00 AM
- How to stream ‘Love It or List It’ for free Saturday 7:00 AM
- How to watch the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup online for free Saturday 6:55 AM
- Borderlands 3 preview suggests the aging series can still hang with the cool kids Saturday 6:30 AM
- How to stream the 2019 College World Series for free Saturday 6:00 AM
- Police try to solve domestic violence by giving victims blunt kitchen knives Friday 5:40 PM
- Privacy activist Ola Bini detained for 2 months in Ecuador without charges Friday 5:01 PM
- Twitter says suspending ‘God’ for a pro-LGBTQ tweet was an ‘error’ Friday 4:14 PM
A Mississippi man was sentenced to 49 years on Monday for the hate crime of killing his transgender ex-girlfriend. Joshua Vallum is the first to be convicted for targeting a transgender person under the expanded Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which, since 2009, makes an attack toward a person based on their gender identity, sexuality, or disability a federal hate crime.
“Today’s sentencing reflects the importance of holding individuals accountable when they commit violent acts against transgender individuals,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement about the case, which was brought before he was appointed to the job. “The Justice Department will continue its efforts to vindicate the rights of those individuals who are affected by bias motivated crimes.”
According to Justice Department, Vallum—25 at the time of the 2015 murder and a member of the Latin Kings—knew his 17-year-old girlfriend Mercedes Williamson was transgender but feared that fellow gang members would find out, so he kept her gender identity a secret. They broke up in 2014, but in 2o15, he lured her to his car, used a stun gun to shock her, then stabbed her before taking a hammer to her when she tried to escape.
Vallum initially said that he killed Williamson because he found out she was transgender. But when he pleaded guilty to the hate crime in December, he admitted he lied. Instead of a life sentence, a U.S. District judge gave Vallum 49 years and a $20,000 fine, “citing Vallum’s neglected childhood and other issues,” the Associated Press reported.
Vallum is already serving a life sentence for Williamson’s murder, which he was convicted of last year in Mississippi.
Jessica Machado is the IRL editor of the Daily Dot. Previously, she was an associate editor at Rolling Stone. Her work has been published in the Washington Post, Elle, Vice, Salon, BuzzFeed, Guernica, Bitch, Bust, the Cut, the Awl, the Toast, among others.