09-15-2005, 04:14 AM #1
CA - Gwen Araujo, 17, transgender, murdered, Newark, 4 Oct 2002
Manslaughter ruled out, Araujo juror says
'Events devolved into brutal beating and homicide'
Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
The jury that convicted two men of second-degree murder in the killing of Newark transgender teenager Gwen Araujo flatly rejected defense arguments that it was a case of manslaughter, a San Francisco lawyer who served on the panel said Tuesday.
An average person would not have resorted to murder upon discovering that Araujo, 17, was biologically male, Max Stern, 38, of Piedmont, said in an interview with The Chronicle.
"The community standard is not and cannot be that killing is something a reasonable person would have done that night," Stern said.
Stern, a civil litigator, said the eight-man, four-woman jury concluded that Jose Merel and Michael Magidson, both 25, had murdered Araujo in October 2002, rejecting defense arguments that at most they were guilty of manslaughter committed in the heat of passion caused by Araujo's sexual deception. Both men had sex with Araujo before the night she was killed. "This was not a manslaughter, because it is not reasonable to accept this behavior in response to the circumstances here," Stern said. "This is not confronting the molester of your children or someone who raped your spouse. These events devolved into a brutal beating and homicide."
The jury deliberated for a week at the Hayward Hall of Justice in the second trial in Araujo's slaying before revealing Monday that they were deadlocked 9-3 in favor of a second-degree murder conviction on a third defendant, Jason Cazares, 25.
Superior Court Judge Harry Sheppard declared a mistrial in Cazares' case. Prosecutors will announce at a Nov. 18 hearing whether they will retry Cazares. The first trial ended in June 2004 with the jury deadlocked on charges against all three men after 10 days of deliberation.
But Merel and Magidson's own testimony on the stand helped seal their fate, Stern said.
"Jose Merel admitted -- and this was corroborated -- that he was involved in striking her with a weapon," a skillet and a soup can, Stern said. "I believe that Magidson strangled the victim."
The jury was torn over Cazares because "there was no factual information that he committed any violence on the victim," Stern said.
Stern said he believed all the defendants had lied on the stand, "either by omission or commission." Some jurors also questioned whether the prosecution's key witness, Jaron Nabors, had been entirely forthright about his involvement in the slaying, Stern said. Nabors, 22, who led police to Araujo's body, pleaded guilty in 2003 to voluntary manslaughter in exchange for testifying against his friends. He is expected to receive an 11-year prison sentence. more at link:http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...AG7SEN2QI1.DTL
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Parents watch your children. Free-range parenting leads to more child victims.
Cruelty to humans begins with cruelty to animals.
I believe in closure, not forgiveness. I'm also unapologetically judgemental.
05-16-2009, 02:25 PM #2
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Verdicts upheld in murder of transgender teen
A state appeals court upheld the murder convictions of two East Bay men Wednesday for their roles in battering and strangling a transgender teenager after learning she was biologically male...
...Magidson, now 28, and Jose Merel, 29, both of Newark, were convicted of second-degree murder in 2005, and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
Two other defendants, Jaron Nabors, 26, and Jason Cazares, 29, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to 11 and six years, respectively...
...In Wednesday's ruling, the appeals court said Superior Court Judge Harry Sheppard had properly defined manslaughter as a killing motivated by emotions so strong that they "would cause an ordinarily reasonable person of average disposition to (act) rashly.""Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind." ~ Henry James
10-23-2010, 12:33 PM #3
Just a question
I have been reading up on this case lately, watched the documentary and the movie also. I think its just so sad and terrible all around. Its so sad for Gwen in so many levels... in the questioning and confusion of her/his gender identity and feeling like a female trapped in a male body, and ofcourse the brutal beating and strangulation resulting in death. IMO it is also sad for the teenage boys, too. Everyone involved was so young and I dont believe any of them really understood exactly what was going on with Gwen... why she/he was dressing and portraying to be a female, they thought they had been tricked into believing Gwen was exactly what "she" appeared to be a "girl" and when they found out "she" was actually a "he" I can understand how that could be devastating for a young boy just becoming sexually active and knowing that you have had sexual relations with a "boy", and then knowing that all your friends know too. I dont think the outcome would have been the same if there had been no sexual contact between any of them, I think they went into a rage from knowing that they had kissed, touched, and done things together with Gwen that they obviously would not have even considered doing had they known "she" was a "he". Things got out of control...feelings of rage, humiliation, embarassment, and it resulted in Gwens murder.
There needs to be more eduction for young people about gender identity issues and gay/ lesbian lifestyles. Young people who have never been exposed to any of these lifestyles and issues do not understand the complexity of them and so they really cant know how to deal with them. There must be more required education in school about it, for those going through it themselves as well as everyone else. It might have helped in this situation and may have changed the outcome.
Those going through it like Gwen was, need to understand that you dont have to tell anyone you dont want to that your "transgendered" but that you should not be sexually active with someone that you have not told, because you may not feel that you have tricked them but they will feel that way, because the reality is that you will be tricking them.
And those not personaly going through it, need to understand that people dont chose to be "transgendered" or "gay", that they are born that way and deserve to be whoever and whatever makes them confortable in their own skin "true" to themselves.
I dont know that young adults will be mature enough to understand and act appropriately but atleast they will be more educated on these subjects.
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