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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 September 2005, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
US men kill transgender teenager
Defendants (l-r) Jose Merel, Michael Magidson and Jason Cazares
The men buried Gwen Araujo in a shallow grave in the Sierra Nevada
Two US men have been found guilty in California of killing a transgender teenager with whom they both had sex.

Michael Magidson and Jose Merel beat, tied up and strangled 17-year-old Gwen Araujo after discovering she was biologically male, the court heard.

Her body was found in a shallow grave in the Sierra Nevada hills soon after the October 2002 killing in Newark.

The men face 15 years to life in jail for murder but were cleared of hate crime charges.

It was the second time the case had gone to court, after a first attempt in 2004 was declared a mistrial.

A mistrial was declared in the case of a third suspect, Jason Cazares. He told the court he only helped bury the victim.

'Towards closure'

Speaking after the verdict, Ms Araujo's mother Sylvia Guerrero told the Associated Press news agency she was pleased with the outcome.

She said: "Nothing is going to bring Gwen back. I know that. But this is at least a step towards closure."

Poster in memory of Gwen Araujo
Gwen Araujo was born a boy called Edward but decided she was female

The court in Hayward, California, heard Ms Araujo had been born a boy named Edward but chose to live as a female.

She met the defendants, who knew her as Lida, in 2002 and they both had sexual encounters with her.

Suspicions about her gender ended in a confrontation in the early hours at Merel's home, the court heard.

A witness who was also at the house described how the victim was savagely beaten after her biological identity was revealed when her underwear was pulled aside.

An autopsy concluded she died of asphyxiation associated with head injuries.

A lawyer for Magidson said he would appeal against the verdict.


SEE ALSO:
Thai film's transsexual glove story
22 Aug 05 |  Entertainment
Transsexual debate in Malaysia
05 Nov 04 |  Asia-Pacific
The victims of prejudice
26 Dec 03 |  Americas
Transsexuals set for new rights
28 Nov 03 |  UK Politics
Life for gay killing
04 Nov 99 |  Americas


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