Who was Amber McLaughlin, the first transgender woman killed in the United States?

On Tuesday evening, January 3, Missouri saw the execution of the country’s first transgender woman. Amber McLaughlin, a 49-year-old openly transgender woman, was killed in Missouri for a murder she committed in 2003. This is the first time a transgender person has been executed in the United States. Amber McLaughlin was convicted of stalking and murdering a former partner before dumping her corpse along St. Louis’ Mississippi River. McLaughlin’s fate was decided earlier Tuesday when Republican Governor Mike Parson declined his mercy appeal.

Image source – Daily Mail

Why was Amber McLaughlin executed?

McLaughlin was found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2006 murder of Beverly Guenther, and when the jury couldn’t agree on a penalty, a judge condemned her to death. After activists raised to worry about her sentence, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson rejected clemency on Tuesday.

“McLaughlin is a vicious criminal,” Parson said Tuesday. “Ms Guenther’s family and loved ones deserve serenity. McLaughlin’s punishment will be carried out following the Court’s ruling, and justice will be served.”

What was the 2003 case of McLaughlin?

Before transitioning into a transgender woman, McLaughlin was in a relationship with a lady named Beverly Guenther. According to court documents, after they split up, McLaughlin would walk up to the suburban St. Louis office where Guenther, 45, worked, occasionally hiding inside. Guenther secured a restraining order and was periodically escorted to her vehicle after work by police officers.

On November 20, 2003, when Guenther did not come home, her neighbours alerted the police. Officers arrived at the workplace and discovered a blood trail and a broken knife handle beside her vehicle. A day later, McLaughlin led authorities to a place along which The body had been dumped in the Mississippi River in St. Louis. She was raped and viciously stabbed with a steak knife, according to sources.

A judge condemned McLaughlin to death after a jury deadlocked on the verdict. According to Komp, the only states where a court may condemn someone to death are Missouri and Indiana.

A judge ordered a fresh sentencing hearing in 2016, but a federal appeals court panel issued the death sentence in 2021.

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