(Washington) An American woman who had been sentenced to death for the murder of her ex-partner is expected to become the first transgender woman to be executed in the United States on Tuesday.
Unless the governor of Missouri grants clemency, Amber McLaughlin, 49, will also be the first person executed in 2023 in the country.
The American, who according to the local press is being held on Missouri’s male death row, is to receive a lethal injection for a murder committed in 2003, before her transition.
She had then killed her ex-companion in the suburbs of Saint-Louis, the big city of Missouri.
Amber McLaughlin had not supported their separation and had been harassing her since, to the point that her former girlfriend had obtained protective measures.
But on the day of the crime, Amber McLaughlin was waiting for her outside work with a kitchen knife and stabbed and then raped her before dumping her body near the Mississippi River, according to local media.
After her trial in 2006, jurors found her guilty of the murder, but they failed to agree on a sentence. A judge then decided by retaining the death penalty.
The states of Missouri and Indiana are the only ones to authorize their magistrates to impose death sentences in the absence of unanimity in the popular jury.
Based on this singularity, Amber McLaughlin’s lawyers asked Republican Governor Mike Parson to commute her sentence to life in prison.
“The death penalty considered here does not reflect the conscience of the community, but that of a single judge,” they wrote in their request for clemency, which also invokes the difficult childhood and psychiatric disorders of their client.
Their request received the support of several personalities, including two elected representatives from Missouri to the American Congress, Cori Bush and Emanuel Cleaver.
In a letter addressed to the governor, they recall the abuse suffered as a child in his adoptive family. “Alongside these horrific abuses, she silently grappled with issues of identity […] gender,” they write.
According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), which refers, no openly transgender person has yet been executed in the United States, “but the issue has drawn attention in recent months with confirmation by the Ohio Supreme Court of the death sentence imposed on Victoria Drain and the commutation of that of Tara Zyst in Oregon, two transgender women”.
Since his election, Governor Mike Parson has not accepted any of the clemency requests submitted to him.