A jury has convicted a Cleveland man for the murder of a transgender woman during an argument in February 2018.
Gary Sanders, 37, faces up to 17 years in prison for shooting and killing his roommate, 45-year-old Phylicia Mitchell. He was found guilty late Monday, July 8, of involuntary manslaughter, reports Cleveland.com. He was acquitted on murder charges that would have carried a mandatory sentence of life in prison with a chance of parole after 15 years.
According to prosecutors, the fact that Mitchell was transgender did not play a role in the shooting. The two were reportedly longtime friends and lived in a house together along with others, including Mitchell’s partner, Shane Mitchell.
Sanders denied responsibility, telling police he was out of town at the time. Surveillance video showed otherwise, and individuals present at the home at the time of the shooting testified to his presence.
“We went together everywhere. We did everything together. We always held hands on the bus. Years ago people didn’t respect that, but they do now,” Mitchell said last year at the time of his partner’s death. “I want justice for what’s happened,because it hurts.”