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Killer Freed; Victim's Family and Transgender Community Fear for Their Safety

Scott Willis, WAER News

The transgender community in Syracuse fears for its safety now that the killer of a young trans-woman is free. 

Green’s mother Roxanne says she has little faith in the legal system, after the Appellate Court in Rochester released Dwight DeLee on probation last week.

The Appellate division of the State Supreme court ruled by a vote of 4 to 1 that the jury made a mistake in finding DeLee guilty of a hate crime, but not guilty of simple manslaughter.  The justices said the trial judge should have seen the verdicts were inconsistent and sent the jury back for deliberations. Mallory Livingston is a local attorney who founded the Syracuse Transgender Alliance.  She agrees the court let DeLee go much too soon.

LaTeisha Green

Livingston calls the decision an outrageous development in the case, and says it’s clear the jury wanted to convict DeLee of the most serious charge…manslaughter as a hate crime.  Regional director of the NYCLU Barrie Gewanter says releasing Green’s killer puts the safety of many at risk.

Justice Erin Perradotto was the lone dissenting judge on the panel that made Dwight DeLee a free man last week. She’s expected within the next two months to decide if she will grant the Onondaga County District Attorney’s request to appeal the decision. If Perradotto accepts the motion, there is a chance DeLee could go back to prison.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at