Transgender Woman Amber Mclaughlin Put To Death For Murder Of Ex-girlfriend

Amber Mclaughlin murder

On Tuesday evening, Amber McLaughlin became the first openly transgender person to be executed in the United States when she was put to death by lethal injection in St. Louis County, Missouri.

According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, McLaughlin, 49, was pronounced dead. The execution was the second to take place in Missouri in the past five weeks.

McLaughlin was convicted of the murder and rape of her ex-girlfriend, Beverly Guenther, in 2003.

Despite this, her execution was opposed by seven retired Missouri judges who wrote a letter to Governor Mike Parson arguing that the death sentence had been handed down via a “flaw” in the state’s capital sentencing scheme.

During the 2006 murder trial, the jury could not decide on sentencing and rejected three of the aggravating circumstances presented by prosecutors in their arguments for the death penalty.

However, a judge can impose the death penalty in such cases under the laws of Missouri and Indiana, the only two states that allow it.

In a statement, Larry Komp, McLaughlin’s attorney, said, “It is difficult to comprehend how our fellow citizens were relegated to bystanders by a legal loophole. The conscience of the community should be an absolute requirement before an execution should proceed – it is absent here.”

Michelle Smith, co-director of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, also commented on the issue, stating that the loophole makes Missouri “an extreme outlier” and that it “reeks of injustice.”

McLaughlin began transitioning around three years ago, according to the sources. In her clemency application, McLaughlin’s attorneys argued that she had suffered abuse as a child, had a borderline intellectual disability, and was remorseful for her actions.

In a statement, Komp said, “It is difficult not to think of Amber as she was as a child, beaten, tased, dirty and hungry, and wonder how we, as a society, could not protect her. Amber immediately regretted her actions in killing Ms. Guenther and was tormented by the memory of what she had done.”

Komp went on to say that in the face of her impending execution, McLaughlin had sought spiritual renewal with the help of a spiritual advisor and a loving community of people who accepted her for who she was.

Governor Mike Parson released a statement on Tuesday morning: “McLaughlin’s conviction and sentence remains after multiple, thorough examinations of Missouri law. McLaughlin stalked, raped, and murdered Ms. Guenther. McLaughlin is a violent criminal. Ms. Guenther’s family and loved ones deserve peace. The State of Missouri will carry out McLaughlin’s sentence according to the Court’s order and deliver justice.”

Executions are scheduled to take place in four states in the coming year, including Missouri. On February 7, Leonard “Raheem” Taylor is set to be executed by lethal injection in the state.

In contrast, the Death Penalty Information Center reports that 37 states have not carried out any executions in the past decade.

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