DETROIT (CBS/AP) — A 19-year-old Detroit man has been convicted of gunning down two gay men and a transgender woman who authorities believe were targeted because of their sexual orientation, The Detroit News reported.
A Wayne County jury convicted Devon Kareem Robinson on Tuesday of first-degree premeditated murder, assault with intent to murder and felony firearm in the killings of 21-year-old Alunte Davis and 20-year-olds Timothy Blancher and Paris Cameron last year following a house party.
Robinson could be given a life sentence without the possibility of parole when he is sentenced on April 13 for the May 2019 killings.
Prosecutors said Davis and Blancher were gay men and Cameron was a transgender woman. In a statement released after the killings, Human Rights Campaign National Press Secretary Sarah McBride said it was “horrifying and heartbreaking” the victims were targeted because they were LGBTQ.
The three victims were slain in the living room of a Detroit home following a party attended by about 15 people. Robinson allegedly shot and wounded two other people inside the house.
According to the testimony of one survivor, so many bullets were fired that the victims’ blood seeped through the walls.
Robinson’s attorney, Evan Callanan Jr., said during a November hearing that there was no evidence against his client, calling prosecutors’ allegations against Robinson “a fanciful theory.”
Federal hate crime data released by the FBI shows crimes targeting the LQBTQ community are on the rise, most markedly against victims targeted for their gender identity. Data collected by the anti-gun violence group Everytown for Gun Safety found 77 transgender and gender non-conforming Americans were killed since January 2017 — 74-percent of whom were killed with guns.
Transgender women of color are at heightened risk of violence, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
“The epidemic of hate violence that targets people of color and LGBTQ people, particularly Black trans people, is an urgent crisis,” McBride said in the statement. “Our policymakers and leaders must do more to ensure the safety and dignity of every person in our country.”
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