First federal gender-based hate crime trial begins in SC over killing of trans woman by black man after sexual relationship

Ritter allegedly murdered Doe after his girlfriend and friends became aware of a sexual relationship between the two.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

A South Carolina man accused of murdering trans-identified male Dime Doe in 2019 has become the first in the nation to go on trial for gender identity-based hate crime charges.

Daqua Lameek Ritter's trial kicked off on Tuesday, with a federal grand jury set to decide whether the Doe's gender identity played a role in the killing.

According to NBC News, federal hate crime laws were amended in 2009 to include offenses motivated by victims' sexual orientation and gender identity, and in 2017, a Mississippi gang member was convicted of killing a 17-year-old transgender woman. While this marked the first time the new laws had been utilized, he pleaded guilty before his case could go to trial.

Ritter, 26, allegedly murdered Doe in a rural area of South Carolina on August 4, 2019 after his girlfriend and friends became aware of a sexual relationship between the two. Upon learning of his secret, Ritter's girlfriend called him a homophobic slur, which made him "extremely upset." Doe and Ritter were said to have been close friends, related via his aunt and Doe's uncle.

Prosecutors have alleged that Ritter coerced Doe to go for a drive, at the end of which he pulled out a gun and shot Doe three times in the head. They argued that he was "motivated by his anger at being mocked for having a sexual relationship with a transgender woman."

Ritter was subsequently charged with "a hate crime for the murder of Doe ... because of her gender identity, using a firearm in connection with the hate crime, and obstruction of justice" for allegedly "misleading state investigators about his whereabouts the day of the murder."

One of Ritter's friends, 24-year-old Xavier Pinckney, was hit with two obstruction charges for having allegedly "concealed from state investigators the use of his phone to call and text Dime Doe the day of the murder and lied to state and federal investigators about seeing Ritter after the morning of the murder."

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