A white supremacist has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a black trans woman.
Brandon Michael Tyson murdered Brooklyn BreYanna Stevenson in Oklahoma City in 2017.
Tyson, a member of the white supremacist group, the Aryan Brotherhood, will serve his sentence without the possibility of parole.
Judge Amy Palumbo condemned Tyson as she sentenced him on Wednesday (24 April).
‘Your actions show that you’re a liar, a thief, and a murderer,’ Judge Amy Palumbo said. ‘You are a danger to the public. You have been given chance after chance after chance.’
The authorities did not say if they though Stevenson’s gender identity or race were motivating factors in the murder, the Advocate reports.
‘He has no justification’
Stevenson was fatally shot at an Oklahoma City motel on November 27, 2017. Tyson pled guilty to the murder of Stevenson in February.
The defendant had initially claimed that the 31-year-old trans woman had attacked him, though police officers said there was no evidence of a struggle.
Gary Higginbotham, Tyson’s defense attorney, said his client’s drug use was to blame for his actions.
‘Mr Tyson has nothing but remorse for what he’s done to the victim, the victim’s family, and his family,’ Higginbotham told The Oklahoman. ‘He has no justification. It’s just the effects of drug addiction.’
Tyson had numerous past convictions, which include burglary and illegal possession of a firearm.
‘Burying a child is nothing that a parent should have to do’
Several of Stevenson’s friends and relatives attended the sentencing hearing.
Her mother, Vivian Stevenson, described her daughter as someone who ‘lit up a room whenever she entered it’.
‘Burying a child is nothing that a parent should have to do, so with that being said, I never wanted the death penalty for you because I did not want your parents to have to go through what I am having to endure,’ the victim’s mother told Tyson.
‘I do pray that you get life without parole, though, because you have proven by your actions that you do not deserve to be free ever again,’ she added.
According to The Advocate, 27 trans individuals were murdered in the US in 2017. This was on par with 2016 for the deadliest years on record for trans people in the US.
However, the media site says the actual number is likely higher, as many of the victims’ deaths are not reported by the media, or they are misgendered by police.