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Fla. teen found guilty of trying to kill transgender woman

Friday, November 1, 2013

TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida teen accused of trying to kill a transgender woman has been found guilty of attempted murder.

Tavares Spencer

Tavares Spencer

Tavares Spencer, 16, was tried as an adult on charges that included attempted first-degree felony murder, attempted second-degree murder and robbery. His trial began Monday and he was found guilty on Thursday.

Tampa police said Spencer met up with Terrience McDonald in April and that he believed she was biologically female.

Spencer attacker McDonald after learning she was transgender. McDonald denies she ever hid her birth gender.

Soon after the April 9 shooting, Spencer bragged in text messages about the incident, using graphic and derogatory language to describe McDonald.

Police say that led to Spencer being charged with a bias-motivated hate crime.

Sgt. Michael Stout of the Tampa police said at the time of the arrest that detectives were taken by Spencer’s lack of remorse in the incident.

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75 more reader comments:

  1. ??

    ??????

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:20pm
  2. Good!!!

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:21pm
  3. hope the basturd rots til hes 50

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:22pm
  4. Sick individual but really if you are Transgendered tell the person you are trying to get with before and terrible things like this can be easily avoided. Yes, it is your life but it is also their life and decision too. That is not something you can just say Surprise, i’m a man and expect your dreams to come true this is a sick, sad world.

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:22pm
  5. that's not really an excuse to try to kill someone.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:27pm
  6. I don't think anything is an excuse to try to kill someone but you hear A LOT of stories about transgendered girls/guys ending up beaten or dead because they weren't HONEST upfront.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:29pm
  7. Fuck you Nathan. Fuck you.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:38pm
  8. Why are you coming at me like that? You'd think the honesty you want from the person you are trying to pursue would be the same they'd expect from you. That doesn't make me a bad person. That makes me aware of the evil around me. I didn't do this. Why the F-bombs?

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:40pm
  9. Hey Nathan- SHE DID TELL HIM! THUS HE LURED HER AND ALMOST KILLED HER- QUIT VICTIM BLAMING HERE!

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:42pm
  10. For Nathan- Click on the link to see what happened here----http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1280267427/transgender-murder-violence-and-suicide-website/posts/648243

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:42pm
  11. I am in no way victim blaming. If you see that in what I wrote, Sorry for you. I am gay why would I blame a gay victim? Makes no sense. I just know the evil in this world. Maybe I didn't read the full story and wasn't aware that THIS person told from the beginning, sorry about that.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:43pm
  12. Nowhere in THIS story does it say that. Excuse me for not knowing what I haven't seen. Geeze.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:45pm
  13. .......I don't think you meant for it to sound as harsh as it did, but it does sound like victim blaming.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:48pm
  14. If it sounds like that, I apologize. I am not victim blaming. I am however saying being honest upfront would solve a lot of these terrible occurrences that you hear about too often.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:49pm
  15. Failure to disclose ones SEXUAL parts are NEVER EVER an excuse or a reason for victim blaming- By stating if she would have disclosed that it might not have happened is victim blaming .. let me try a different example "Well, if that girl hadn't worn those short skirts maybe she wouldn't have gotten raped". It's the exact same kind of thing. The reason people came at you like the above is because it is SO common in our community who want to do victim blaming. I'm sorry if I'm coming off harsh. That is not my intent. But you can see from the other article that she did it all correctly and STILL got shot.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:50pm
  16. A transgender woman is not a man, nor is she "gay" for sleeping with men. All this flak you'r getting could be avoided with a bit of education about the nature of Gender Dysphoria.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:52pm
  17. This is the first I have heard about this story (and it wasn't very informative) so sorry if i am ill advised.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:53pm
  18. I am in no way saying it was her fault either. I am just saying there are some crazy people in this world (obviously) and I am sure (as I don't really know) it is hard for a transgendered person to disclose this information for fear of being rejected, etc. I am in no way a hater of any race or orientation. I don't think these cases are just like rape or they wouldn't be in a special group of cases called Hate Crimes.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:55pm
  19. I think you took what I said in a whole different aspect. I wasn't saying she deserved this or that anyone does. I said that being honest upfront (this wasn't meant for this case, this is in general) that things like this could (hopefully) be avoided.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:59pm
  20. GD is a birth defect. It is medically treatable, just like many other birth defects. But really...how many people do you know who advertise the fact that they have had corrective surgery?? "Hi, nice to meet you. I feel I should warn you that my spine is man-made from titanium". Not the best pick-up line ;)

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 8:05pm
  21. I just want to say sorry if I offended or made anyone feel bad. Not my intention. I don't know your struggle. I am not saying that what this person did is ok.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 8:08pm
  22. Hey Roxanne-- How did you know i have a titanium spine???!?!?!

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 8:17pm
  23. Nathan, No person owes anyone a medical history before dating someone. That is the point. There is also no point where anyone has any right to assault or murder someone of any gender. You find out, you leave. You can even whine and complain and yell. But the moment you raise a hand at someone, you lose the high ground. The moment your insecurity about a situation becomes violent you are the biggest asshole. All a trans woman wants is to meet a nice person and have a relationship. Finally it is completely absurd to be upset for being attracted to someone.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 9:03pm
  24. blame the victim

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 9:20pm
  25. nathan, a transgender individual does not have to disclose ANYTHING to someone they just meet. there is absolutely no excuse to be blaming the victim. blame the responsible parties.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 11:10pm
  26. YAY VICTIM BLAMING. /Heavy sarcasm.

    Replied on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 1:33am
  27. In some aspect I do agree with the Nathan for the fact that......if you are going to go on a date with someone you definitely should be honest. It will only end up bad if you don't......if you don't tell the truth and you go on a date or meet or whatever and you are not honest with whom you are the relationship will never work because it is started out on a lie and al trust would be gone. You very well could be giving up a great relationship because of lack of honesty, You need to take your chance and be honest if the person cannot accept you for who you are then they are not the right person for you in the first place and you know not to waste your time, If you are honest you may find out that they are acceptable of who you really are and it could turn out to be a great relationship, I just don't think being deceitful is worth all the heartache and drama. I do not agree that a person should be attacked for being who they are. I am sure this guy has been targeted for the color of his skin and I bet it pissed him off. I think this guy should be punished because he chose to make a very bad decision and to be prejudice and take matters into his own hands.

    Replied on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 5:44am
  28. I agree with Nathan and Amy, as well. He didn't put it in the most sensitive way ever, but really... People are going to bitch no matter what anyone says... And yes, to the vast majority of people if you are MTF transgendered it is as simple as "Surprise, I'm a man". It isn't ignorance to point this out. Is it politically correct they think this way? Nope. Or even technically medically correct? Nope. Guess what? The VAST majority of people have no connection to this situation and it is very black and white to them. That is just the way most people think, and this isn't a secret... Calling people stupid and ignorant (looking at you, Melanie) DEFINITELY isn't going to change the general public's view on transgendered people. And most people don't care to read the scientific studies of transexualism if they have no connection to it. To assume everyone should is pretty ridiculous. It took how many years to convince people gays weren't child molestors? Oh right... We're still doing that over 50 years later. Demand an apology from someone who actually meant to offend, not someone pointing out how the majority of people think. I think people should tell people when they are transgendered, too. Not "Hi, I am Cindy and transgendered." But definitely when things start to become romantic or flirtatous. I don't throw a fit when I am asked if I am lesbian or bisexual by women. And to whoever said medical history doesn't matter... Get an STD test lately? If I am romantically interested in someone I want to know what's going on with their genitalia because that matters for when things become sexual. I wouldn't outright expect a lesbian to be ok with a penis, regardless of however you are on the inside. Why would someone expect a straight, testosterone filled, male to be ok with it? Not everyone agrees that "what is on the inside" is all that counts. It's called "being shallow". Some people are this way. That's life. Does that excuse violent behavior? Absolutely not. But I do think people are owed basic information about sexual history and the like before emotions become involved. If you hide it, you are trying to manipulate the situation, because you know they think you are a natural born female. If nothing else, people deserve to know natural childbirth isn't going to happen. That alone is a dealbreaker for many 20s+ people.

    Replied on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 6:15am
  29. Disgusting and inexcusable behavior by Mr. Spencer.

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:24pm
  30. I agree.

    Replied on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 9:49pm
  31. Glad to hear he was found guilty.

    Replied on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 4:54pm
  32. I hope this guy pays big time for what he did.

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:24pm
  33. can u make anyone dude who gives you right to kill

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:24pm
  34. great, now the taxpayers have to pay for this fool for the rest of his life… please indoctrinate old school head chopping, in the town square.

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:26pm
  35. Loser!!! GROSS!!!

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:37pm
  36. put his ass in jail and throw away the key

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:45pm
  37. what the hell is wrong with this ignorant creature!! ugh!! You will get what you deserve..

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:49pm
  38. Great news I hope he gets his share in jail

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:56pm
  39. No one deserves to be attacked for any reason…..this guy is a coward….once he found out he should have just walked away if he did not want to be with her

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:58pm
  40. lets see how he likes being someone eltses bitch >;3

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 8:12pm
  41. GOOD! I HOPE HE ROTS IN PRISON!!!

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 8:21pm
  42. Gosh….

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 8:33pm
  43. Obamas son

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 8:43pm
  44. ugly bitch

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 8:44pm
  45. Enjoy getting your ass raped, bitch !!!!

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 8:57pm
  46. Nathan Handy, you’re obvious lack of intelligence and ignorance is asrounding. “Surprise I’m a man” are you fucking kidding me?

    If you’d care to understand Transsexual Women, you’d know that we are not men and to call is such is the same kind of thing calling a black person the “N” word.

    Go away, educate yourself and return with a sincere apology to the trans women you have just insulted.

    Really, the LGB community should know how to treat trans people by now. I ask this of cis people, please educate yourselves about trans people, your words can cut like a knife even in ignorance and we all know ignorance is no excuse.

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 9:07pm
  47. What a lowlife!

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 9:11pm
  48. I’m going to put this as delicately and diplomatically as I can. I’m sure I’ll get accused of victim blaming, but whatever.

    Some dogs bite. If you approach an unknown dog, you may get bitten. This isn’t “fair” but it is reality.

    Some people are homophobic. Some people equate “has a penis” with “is a man”, and if in an intimate situation with a person who, surprise! has a penis, will react violently. This isn’t right. It isn’t fair. But it is the case, and it may be possible to avoid it by disclosing the fact that you have a penis BEFORE you get naked with them. Should you have to? No. But it would make you a little safer.

    I’m not homophobic or transphobic. Hell, I’ve sucked a trans girl’s dick, and I would again. But I am aware that there are people out there who would react like that. I myself have to be careful in ways I shouldn’t need to. I’ve been attacked on more than one occasion because people are stupid, judgemental assholes, and so I take extra precautions because I’m aware these people exist.
    I have a friend who’s a transman and who got bashed for being a “lesbian”, and it was horrible.

    Now feel free to ignore everything I said and call me a victim blamer.

    Edit: I should also state that I’m aware nothing is certain. To continue the analogy above, you can also get bitten, even killed, by a dog you thought you knew. It’s not about certainty, it’s about being as safe as possible.

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 9:21pm
  49. I'll agree that safety is paramount when approaching relationships and sexual situations as trans people. I'll add, however, that I'm not sure that it's all that much safer disclosing early. If you're pre/non-op, I'd wager that it's probably best to disclose before anything sexual happens. Apparently disclosure happened in this case beforehand as well, but if there's one thing I've become aware of through other similar cases, people usually don't care who sucks their dick until their friends give them shit for it. Then, to reclaim whatever masculinity they thought was lost or threatened, they lash out violently. So disclosure is awesome, if it's safe to give it, but that's always a risky play either way. I know there are people who say "tell me before the first date" or "tell me at the end of the first date", "tell me directly after I offer to buy you a drink, or offer to dance with you" , etc. but early disclosure can lead to some pretty violent behaviour as well, behaviour that could have been avoided if they'd waited a while longer to see what sort of reaction there would be before deciding to disclose or break the relationship off. You're right, life isn't fair. being trans in social situations with strangers will almost always involve risk. We're more often than not more aware of these risks than anyone else, we just play the odds as best we can and hope we don't encounter murderous, insecure assholes.

    Replied on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 1:43am
  50. Attempted murder is just that. He’ll be somebody’s bitch on the inside…

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 9:22pm
  51. Good!

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 9:39pm
  52. I. Hope they fry you !

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 9:56pm
  53. Thankfully justice is being served smh. This is deplorable!!

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 10:25pm
  54. I would like to see a public hanging for this kind of crime!

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 10:38pm
  55. Good. Maybe when he gets to prison he’ll find out what a REAL predator looks like!

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 11:10pm
  56. 16? Have a great life rotting in jail pal. Your gonna find the idea of a Trans woman very appealing in a few years!

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 11:11pm
  57. i agree 100 percent

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 11:12pm
  58. what a loser…

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 11:14pm
  59. Good.

    Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 11:19pm
  60. Now that he’s going to prison,maybe he’ll find a nice boyfriend

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 12:09am
  61. And we’re keeping THIS person on the planet because…?

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 12:17am
  62. Unacceptable.I hope this person is put away for a long time.

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 12:32am
  63. Disgusting!!!

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 12:37am
  64. He’s going to have a long time to think about what he did and why it was wrong.

    As for victim blaming, that’s completely wrong. If he had a problem with who she was, he could have easily just walked away. Instead, he chose to attack her. That’s why he’s going to prison.

    Too few people take the time to try to walk in someone else’s shoes.

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 12:52am
  65. Sad, sad, sad. As a mother of a transgender daughter, I am constantly in fear of her being hurt or killed by ignorant ass holes. This shit has got to STOP!!

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 1:34am
  66. Justice!

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 1:59am
  67. rot in prison you sorry excuse for a human being. shame on you.

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 3:22am
  68. There is too much homophobia in the black community.

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 4:16am
  69. I hope he likes being someone’s bitch!

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 6:17am
  70. Hang him. I’m fucking tired of the bully’s

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 9:34am
  71. Drag that vile thing to jail piece of shit

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 12:09pm
  72. Disgusting

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 1:10pm
  73. Hope he fries.

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 1:22pm
  74. For thosw ignorants folks out there im sorry but it is not yiur fucking business if she doesnt wanna talk about a birth medical defficiancy its not his fucking business unless she wants to talk about it… Theres waaaaay too much transphobia out there just because MEN are scared of it making them bein gay which is totally retarded and a non sense.

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 1:36pm
  75. he can kiss the next 40 yrs of his life GOODBYE!

    Posted on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 2:16pm