Last April, Kenne McFadden’s body was found in the San Antonio River, two days after Mark Daniel Lewis confessed to pushing her in.
This past Thursday, a judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove criminal wrongdoing at a probation hearing about a separate matter. Because it is unconstitutional to try someone for the same crime twice, Lewis will not face manslaughter charges.
At issue is whether Lewis’s actions could be considered criminal, since he admitted to pushing McFadden into the river.
Lewis said that they were both drunk and kissing when McFadden touched his butt and asked to go home with him. He pushed her and she fell into the river. Her family said that she did not know how to swim.
Lewis later told police, “I hate physical contact. I hate when people lay their hands on me.” He said that he did not intend to push her into the river, just to push her away.
Prosecutors argued that Lewis’s actions were not “reasonable,” and a grand jury indicted him for manslaughter.
Lewis was already on probation for failing to register as a sex offender in a separate matter, and prosecutors tried to use the manslaughter indictment against Lewis to prove a probation violation and get him back in jail.
What the prosecutors did not expect was for Judge Joey Contreras to turn the probation hearing into a trial about McFadden’s death, and then rule that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that Lewis’s actions were criminal.
The ruling prohibits prosecutors from pressing charges against Lewis because of double jeopardy, according to Assistant District Attorney Jason Goss.
“The judge has the ability to make that determination after hearing the evidence.”
The San Antonio Gender Association, the Pride Center San Antonio, and the Transgender Education Network of Texas have organized a demonstration in front of the Bexar County District Attorney’s office next Tuesday. They believe that District Attorney Nico LaHood bungled the case.
“Transgender women of color and black trans women are being murdered at an alarming pace,” an unnamed protest organizer told the San Antonio Current. “When this happens in our city we expect to see justice served. We demand justice for Kenne! We refuse to go away and will show up to make our voices heard.”
The San Antonio Express-News reports that after the judge announced his ruling on Thursday, Kenne’s mother Joann McFadden collapsed and was taken to the hospital.