Missouri Executes First Openly Transgender Person with Lethal Injection

Missouri has put to death by lethal injection on Tuesday Amber McLaughlin, carrying out the first known US execution of an openly transgender person, the Missouri Department of Corrections said in a written statement.

In her final, written statement McLaughlin expressed regret for what she has done, noting that she’s a loving and caring person.

The fate of McLaughlin – who was convicted of a 2003 first-degree murder of Beverly Guenther and sentenced to death in 2006 by a judge after the jury deadlocked on a sentencing decision- was sealed earlier Tuesday when Missouri Gov. Mike Parson declined her clemency request.

In her clemency petition – which included details of traumatic childhood abuse – McLaughlin argued that the jury did not listen to issues about her mental health although she suffered from depression whereas her lawyers also expressed concern that she’d be put to death even though the jury was not unanimous.

Supported by the organization Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, an online petition for clemency called the court’s decision a gross misuse of judicial power.

Gov. Parson denied her clemency after advocates expressed concern over McLaughlin’s sentencing, pointing out that she is a violent criminal and that family and loved ones of Ms. Guenther deserve peace.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, five executions have taken place in Missouri since Parson took office in June 2018, after he declined to grant clemency in each case.

Since the US Supreme Court reinstated the practice in 1976 after a brief suspension, McLaughlin was one of the few women who have been scheduled for execution. Prior to her execution, just 17 had been put to death since 1976.

According to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, only 50 of the 2,414 people on death row nationwide as of April 1, 2022, were women.

However, according to the anti-execution Death Penalty Information Center, there are no known previous cases in which an openly transgender person was executed.

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