A transgender woman from south Florida is facing a murder charge despite claims that she was acting in self-defense.
According to NBC 6, the woman, identified only as Ms. Campbell, said she’s only being charged with murder because she openly identifies as trans.
“I do feel like that it may have been different if it was a [cisgender] woman in my situation,” Campbell told the local TV station.
Campbell is facing a second-degree murder charge for stabbing and killing Jackson Marcelin in July 2016. According to a witness, the stabbing occurred after Marcelin struck Campbell with a thick piece of wood.
In the original legal brief, Campbell’s roommate described seeing her stab Marcelin “unprovoked,” but later amended her testimony, saying that Marcelin would often approach Campbell for sex and didn’t accept her rejection of him. In the affidavit, the witness said she would never characterize the attack as “unprovoked.”
Local news sources report that Marcelin aggressively pursued Campbell for two months before the fatal altercation occurred.
Ms. Campbell’s lawyer, Herbert Erving Walker III, spoke to Mic about the case, saying that he believes transgender stigma is preventing it from being seen as a typical self-defense case.
“If this were just Susie from the Midwest, beautiful, blond-haired, blue-eyed housewife, we would’ve never been in this position,” he said.
He went on to say that if the case involved sexual attraction and rejection of a cis woman, the case would be accepted. But because his client’s transgender, jurors are less willing to believe her.
“The charges would’ve never been filed,” Walker said. “This is clearly a classic case of self-defense. My client didn’t pre-arm herself, she had no motive, she had no reason to want to cause any harm to this person.”
According to Walker, Florida law requires a case to be heard within six months of charges being filed. Since charges were brought against Campbell in July, it’s becoming more and more difficult for her case to be heard in court, despite his attempts to go to trial six times.
“Every time I would try to get this case to go to trial, because I was so confident that I was going to win, the state would ask for a continuance and ask for a mistrial.”
Walker concluded by saying that while Campbell was incarcerated, she was attacked three times by fellow inmates. The abuse was so violent that he had to file emergency motions to have her released.