CeCe McDonald, a transgender woman of color who was on trial for the murder of a man who allegedly attacked her, took a plea bargain on Wednesday morning to second degree manslaughter. McDonald was accused of killing Dean Schmitz, a man who had a swastika tattoo on his chest and who witnesses say called McDonald racist and transphobic slurs.
Dozens of McDonald’s supporters, clad in purple, showed up for McDonald’s hearings. Sobbing broke out in the gallery as the judge announced the plea. McDonald herself cried as she took the stand to accept the plea. McDonald insisted that she was protecting herself.
McDonald’s case attracted attention around the country, as many viewed McDonald’s action as one of self-defense. She suffered a large gash on her face when a friend of Schmitz threw the first punch by smashing a glass of liquor on McDonald’s face.
Supporters have alleged that McDonald is being punished simply for surviving. Trandgender women of color face extreme threats of violence. In April of this year, three transgender women of color have been murdered in the United States.
McDonald is expected to be sentenced to 41 months in prison. She will likely serve about 20 months given good behavior and time already served.