'These verdicts were long overdue and we hope this finally gives Gwen's family and friends some closure,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese made the following statement following the conviction yesterday of two men, Michael Magidson and Jose Merel, in the killing Gwen Araujo. Araujo, a transgender woman, was 17 years old when she was viciously attacked and killed Oct. 3, 2002, in Newark, Calif. The men had claimed that they were "deceived" by Araujo. The jury deadlocked on the verdict for Jason Cazares, who also charged with the murder.
"These verdicts were long overdue and we hope this finally gives Gwen's family and friends some closure," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "We will continue to follow this case and work with our allies to educate the public about the senseless violence that too many transgender Americans face. Gwen was brutally murdered because of hatred and to claim anything else is the real deception."
Araujo was beaten severely - using fists, canned goods and a metal skillet - then strangled. Her attackers wrapped her in blankets and hit her in the head with a shovel before placing her body in a pickup truck. She was driven to a remote location and buried in a shallow gave near South Lake Tahoe, where her body was found two weeks later after one of her attackers, Jaron Nabors, 21, confessed to police. A mistrial was declared in June 2004 for the first trial of Magidson, Merel and Cazares. Nabors was also charged but pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
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