Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Transgender Woman Raped, Assaulted with Wooden Coat Hanger in Murder Attempt

trans symbol

Trinidad, CO – The Pueblo Chieftain and the Examiner.com report that on July 15, 2009 a transsexual person was attacked in a hate crime reminiscent of the murder of Angie Zapata, an 18-year-old transgender woman who was bludgeoned to death in Greeley, CO last year.  The victim,  a 25-year-old M to F person in transition was lodging in the Trinidad Motor Inn awaiting consultation on gender reassignment surgery when she was targeted by a suspect identified as Marcus Lee Watlington.  No age or hometown of the suspect has been announced by the Trinidad police.  Police have reported that Watlington denies any part in the crime.  According to reports on the scene, the victim was pushed into her motel room by the attacker after answering her door.  He verbally denigrated her because of her identity, and proceeded to force sex acts on her.  He then raped her, using a wooden coat hanger to assault her sexually.  To finish the job, the attacker then plunged the victim in a full tub of water in the bathroom, and attempted to execute her by tossing an electric hair dryer into tub with her.  The breaker blew, preventing a fatality.  Frustrated in his attempt to murder the victim, the assailant dragged her back to the bed, bound her with a phone cord, slapped her repeatedly, and warned her not to come back to Trinidad because her “kind” were not wanted there.  The victim stayed bound in the bed until she was discovered late the next morning.  Her description of the attacker was detailed, and according to police, fit Watlington “to a T.”  Anti-trans hate crimes are notable for their brutality and for the abject disregard of the humanity of the victim, and transgender persons are particularly vulnerable to anti-gay as well as anti-trans bias, according to the Colorado Anti-Violence Program (CAVP).  If charged with the crime, Watlington would face sexual assault, attempted murder, and “false imprisonment” charges.  The Chieftain noted that Trinidad, which is a center for transsexual reassignment surgery, has a larger than usual population of transgender persons who are drawn to the town because of the famed practice of Dr. Stanley Biber.  The surgical practice, now run by Dr. Marci Bowers, carries out as many as four sexual reassignment surgeries a day, making Trinidad known as “The Sex Change Capital of the World.”  Local police report that crimes against transgender persons are rare in the town of 9,000.  While it is still unclear about whether hate crimes charges will be filed in this case, Colorado does have a hate crime statute that covers anti-transgender crimes.  Allen Ray Andrade, found guilty of the murder of Zapata earlier this year, was sentenced to life in prison by the Colorado hate crimes law, and is believed to be the first person to be successfully prosecuted under such a statute in the United States.  The Unfinished Lives Project awaits further developments in this case.

August 16, 2009 Posted by | Beatings and battery, Colorado, drowning, harassment, Hate Crimes, Law and Order, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, transgender persons, transphobia, women | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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