The Department of Justice has signed on to assist with the prosecution in the murder case of a genderfluid high school student in Burlington, Iowa. However, the slain teen’s mother has a lot to say to the Trump administration in regards to this recent update.
Jorge Louis Sanders Galvez has been charged with the March 2016 shooting death of 16-year-old Kedarie Johnson. Civil Rights Attorney Christopher J. Perras was officially filed in documents in Iowa court Friday, to aid Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers and Assistant Iowa Attorney General Laura Roan in the case.
“The federal authorities are investigating the case as a federal hate crime, and so they would like to be part of the state case for seamless prosecution, should an indictment in federal court be handed down,” Beavers told USA Today.
Katrina Johnson, the mother of the Burlington high school victim, called out the Trump administration for neglecting to intervene with hate crimes in the LGBT community, prior to the murder of her son.
“I love the fact that they have intervened,” she told HuffPost in a phone interview. “But, it shouldn’t have taken for a child to lose his life, and for everybody to think it was a hate crime, for them to step up and do something, They need to continue to do something, even after this case is over.”
Johnson went on to describe her son, who sometimes went by the name Kandicee, as a young RuPaul who enjoyed bonding with his mom, by getting their nails and hair done together. Her son used “he/his” pronouns.
“I had to teach him and instill in him, don’t be ashamed of who you are. Be who you are and what you are, no matter what people think,” said Johnson.
The trial, as of yesterday, will now be held in South Lee County Court, after a judge decided that the previous venue, Henry County, would not have enough diversity on their jury pools to give Sanders-Galvez a fair trial. Jury selection is set to begin on October 25. If convicted, Sanders-Galvez could face the death penalty.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was involved with Perras joining the case, according to the New York Times. This came as a surprise to many, due to his support of enforcing protection of religious freedom laws at federal and executive agencies in the past few weeks and his pushback on protecting transgender people in the workplace last month.