ALBANY, N.Y. — New York’s highest court on Monday said prosecutors seeking to convict the killer of a transgender woman can press for a new trial after losing their appeal to reinstate his conviction and 25-year sentence for what they said was a hate crime.
Dwight DeLee, who was accused of shooting and killing Lateisha Green in Syracuse in 2008 while shouting anti-LGBT slurs, was acquitted by a jury of simple manslaughter, but convicted of manslaughter as a hate crime, which carries steeper penalties.
The New York Court of Appeals on Monday agreed with a lower court which last year overturned DeLee’s conviction and prison sentence. That court found that the jury verdict was legally impossible because DeLee could not have committed manslaughter as a hate crime without also committing manslaughter.
The court on Monday said Onondaga County prosecutors could seek a new trial for DeLee on the hate crime charge.
The court rejected claims by LGBT advocacy groups that DeLee’s conviction should be reinstated because, while the jury was confused, its intent to convict him was clear.
Onondaga County Chief Assistant District Attorney James Maxwell said his office would move forward with a new trial against DeLee.