Iowa Jury Returns Guilty Verdict in Gender-Identity Murder Case

By Reuters

A man was found guilty on Friday of murdering an Iowa teenager who identified as both male and female, the Des Moines Register reported, in a case that had led U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to dispatch a federal civil rights prosecutor.

Jorge Sanders-Galvez attends his first-degree murder trial, Friday Oct. 27, 2017 at the South Lee County Courthouse in Keokuk, Iowa.John Lovretta / AP

The jury deliberated for 90 minutes before returning the guilty verdict against Jorge Sanders-Galvez, 23, for shooting Kedarie Johnson, a 16-year-old high-school student who sometimes went by the name Kandicee, in March 2016, the newspaper reported.

Sanders-Galvez, who had testified he did not kill or even know Johnson, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole under Iowa law.

"Justice was served for my baby!" Johnson's mother, Katrina Johnson, said in the corridor outside the courtroom following the verdict, the newspaper reported.

Johnson's family had said the teenager identified as both male and female, and prosecutors said Sanders-Galvez targeted Johnson partly for this reason.