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2 men charged following 2019 murder of transgender woman in South Carolina

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Two men have been charged in relation to the 2019 murder of a Black transgender woman in South Carolina, authorities said Wednesday.  In a five-count federal indictment, the two men were charged with hate crime and obstruction offenses in the death of Pebbles LaDime "Dime" Doe, 24, according to a news release from the United State's Attorney's Office

Daqua Ritter, 26, was charged with a hate crime as well as using a firearm in connection with a hate crime and obstruction of justice. The hate crime count carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, the U.S. Attorney's office said, while the obstruction of justice charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. 

Xavier Pinckney, 24, was charged with two obstruction offenses for providing false and misleading statements to authorities investigating the murder. The obstruction offense, like Ritter's, carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, while the count charging him with lying to federal investigators carries a maximum penalty of five years, the U.S. Attorney's office said. 

Ritter shot Doe  on Aug. 4, 2019 "because of her actual and perceived gender identity," prosecutors allege. Ritter then allegedly misled state investigators about his whereabouts on the day of the murder, and Pinckney "concealed from state investigators" that he had used his cell phone to call and text Doe the day of the murder. Pinckney also allegedly lied about seeing Ritter after he murdered Doe. 

According to the Human Rights Coalition, Doe was found dead from gunshot wounds in a car parked in a driveway and was the 15th transgender person to be murdered in 2019.  Friends and family remembered the 24-year-old as "the best to be around." 

Data from the non-profit Everytown for Gun Safety found that the murders of transgender people nearly doubled from 2017 to 2021. In 2021, 56 transgender people were killed, a 93% increase from 2017. 

Guns were used in 73% of the cases, according to the data. Black transgender women were found to be the group most at risk, accounting for nearly three-quarters of the known victims. However, Black people make up just 13% of the transgender community.

In general, transgender people were found to be 2.5 times more likely to experience violence. 

"Bias-motivated crimes are a real, frightening problem in the United States, and LGBTQ+ people continue to be targeted because of who they are," the Everytown report said.

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