Two Men Plead Guilty to Hate Crime Charges Related to 2020 Puerto Rico Murder of Trans Woman

The Department of Justice announced Monday that two men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit a hate crime and obstruction of justice for assaulting a homeless transgender woman mere hours before she was found murdered three years ago in Puerto Rico, Li Cohen and Christopher Brito report for CBS News. Jordany Rafael Laboy-Garcia and Christian Yamaurie Rivera-Otero recorded themselves assaulting 29-year-old Alexa Negrón Luciano with a paintball gun after midnight on Feb. 24, 2020.

The Justice Department says that both defendants have sentencing hearings scheduled for Nov. 10. A third man, Anthony Steven Lobos-Ruiz, who was with Laboy-Garcia and Rivera-Otero that night and filmed himself yelling at and threatening Negrón Luciano, previously pleaded guilty to committing a hate crime and was sentenced to 33 months in prison. Human Rights Watch reports that Puerto Rico accounted for 14 percent of the 44 transgender or gender non-conforming people who were fatally shot or killed by violent means in 2020 in the U.S., more than any other state or territory. To date, no one has been charged for Negrón Luciano’s murder.

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