News (USA)

Daqua Lameek Ritter found guilty on all charges in slaying of transgender woman

Daqua Lameek Ritter
Daqua Lameek Ritter Photo: Mugshot

Daqua Lameek Ritter has been found guilty on all charges – including hate crimes charges – in the killing of a Black transgender woman identified in court only as Dime Doe. Ritter’s trial was historic in that it was the first federal hate crimes trial for a hate crime based on gender identity.

“A unanimous jury has found the defendant guilty for the heinous and tragic murder of Dime Doe, a Black transgender woman,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in a statement. “The jury’s verdict sends a clear message: Black trans lives matter, bias-motivated violence will not be tolerated, and perpetrators of hate crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Authorities believe that Ritter and Doe had a sexual relationship that his girlfriend and friends learned about a month before she was killed. They believe that Ritter’s girlfriend called him an anti-gay slur, which made him “extremely upset.”

“His crime was motivated by his anger at being mocked for having a sexual relationship with a transgender woman,” prosecutors wrote in court documents. They believe Ritter then drove Doe to an isolated area near a relative’s house and shot her three times.

Prosecutors believe that he lied to police about his whereabouts and got people to help him burn his clothes and hide his weapon as he fled the state of South Carolina for New York. Video of a traffic stop allegedly showed him in Doe’s car just hours before she was killed. DNA evidence also places him in Doe’s car, and several witnesses said that Ritter told them he killed her.

“He was afraid, shooken up” when he confessed to killing Doe, Jamie Priester, Ritter’s cousin, said during the trial last week. Priester said Ritter asked him to keep it a secret. Priester said that Ritter was mad that Doe wouldn’t delete a picture of him from her phone.

Artaveis Youmans, who was present when Ritter was burning his clothes after the shooting, testified that Ritter said, “Nobody gonna have to worry about [Doe] anymore.” Another witness said that Ritter asked for help to hide a gun.

Ritter’s attorneys pointed to inconsistencies in the witnesses’ testimony and said that one of them had a bad memory due to cannabis consumption.

Prosecutors chose not to seek the death penalty in the case. Ritter could be sentenced to up to life in prison.

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