New York- The man accused of fatally beating Islan Nettles, a 21 year old transgender woman, turned down a plea deal today in a Manhattan criminal court, and will now face a jury trial scheduled for March 30, 2016.
Judge Robert Stolz offered James Dixon only 12 years behind bars in exchange for pleading guilty in the barbaric 2013 attack on Islan Nettles. Dixon, 25, faces a possible 5 to 25 years behind bars if convicted at trial in the manslaughter case. Prosecutors wanted 17 years in exchange for pleading guilty, but Stolz undercut them apparently because in Dixon is still young and has no criminal history.
I find such a plea offer by the judge outrageous under the circumstances and I believe that after the jury and possibly new judge hear the evidence and see the extent of the brutality, Dixon will be found guilty and receive a much stiffer term. A message must be sent to people across this country, that there will be zero leniency for violence against trans people, especially in those cases where had the person not been trans, the violence may not have occurred.
According to the assistant District Attorney, Nicholas Viorst and the judge the odds seemed stacked against Dixon because the case against him is so strong. Now he has refused the plea deal – let justice take its course.
Jennifer Louise Lopez from the organization Everything Transgender in NYC (ETNYC) informed me that she believes Dixon stands little chance of getting off, based on the numerous confessions he has made to committing the barbaric crime. She said that activists hope he is found guilty and receives the maximum 25 year prison sentence. She noted that the crime was particularly barbaric. Nettles sustained vicious fractures to the skull, jaw, nose, and forehead. Medical experts will also testify to the horrific injuries that killed Nettles, according to the prosecutor.
Dixon made confessed to four different civilians before turning himself in and gave a written confession to a detective as well as a lengthy videotaped confession.
Activists from Everything Transgender in NYC (ETNYC) and AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) is hoping that many people will show up to the Court building on March 30th to show support for Islan Nettles, and to show that violence against trans people must cease.
The Court is located at: 110 Centre St. in Manhattan.
Melanie Nathan, [email protected]