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Missouri has publicly executed the first transgender person in US history

The state of Missouri executed Scott “Amber” McLaughlin by lethal injection on Tuesday evening. She became the first openly transgender person executed in the United States. McLaughlin, 49, was pronounced dead at 6:51 p.m. at Eastern Reception, at the Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Mo., after a failed bid for clemency the day before.

McLaughlin apologized in her final, written statement sent to UPI by the Missouri Department of Corrections. “I’m sorry for what I did. I’m a loving and caring person,” McLaughlin wrote Sunday under the signature “Scott McLaughlin.”

McLaughlin’s execution is the first in the United States this year. McLaughlin is the first openly transgender person and the 18th woman since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Last month, McLaughlin and her lawyers applied for clemency to Missouri Republican Governor Mike Parson.

Missouri has publicly executed the first transgender person in US history
Missouri has publicly executed the first transgender person in US history

McLaughlin’s death sentence will be commuted to life in prison because the jury at her trial disagreed with her conviction. U.S. Representatives Cory Bush and Emanuel Cleaver, both Missouri Democrats, also sent a letter detailing McLaughlin’s traumatic childhood and history of mental health issues.

“Ms. McLaughlin’s brutal execution was the first time a woman was executed in the state since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, and it does not address systemic issues facing Missourians and people across America, including anti-LGBTQ+ hate and violence, and cycles of violence targeting women,” the letter said.

Parsons refused to apologize Tuesday, saying the execution would continue as scheduled. “The state of Missouri will carry out McLaughlin’s sentence as ordered by the court,” Persson said in a statement, adding that her victim’s loved ones “deserve peace.”

McLaughlin, who was going by the name Scott at the time, was sentenced to death on November 20, 2003, for the murder of her 45-year-old ex-girlfriend, Beverly Gunther. According to court records, McLaughlin waited for Gunther outside her office before repeatedly stabbing and raping her in the parking lot.

McLaughlin is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated rape, and armed robbery. The jury deferred the death penalty, leaving the decision to the trial judge. In 2016, District Court Judge McLaughlin overturned the death sentence, saying the jury had not properly weighed aggravating factors.

8th U.S. The Court of Appeals reinstated the death penalty last year.


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