Man gets 49 years for anti-transgender hate crime killing

Published 7:55 am Tuesday, May 16, 2017

GULFPORT, Miss. — A Mississippi man received a 49-year prison sentence Monday for the first-ever conviction on federal hate crime charges arising from the murder of a transgender woman.

U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. sentenced Joshua Vallum in connection with the 2015 killing of 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson. It was the first case prosecuted under the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act involving a victim targeted because of gender identity.