Kedaire Johnson, a 16-year old Burlington, Iowa high school student, was shot to death in March 2016. Kedarie identified as both male and female and sometimes went by the name Kandicee.
The trial started this Tuedsay with murder charges against Jorge Sanders-Galvez, 23, and Jaron Purham, 26. Prosecutors are saying the murder had to do with Johnson’s gender identity.
The case has drawn national attention as Attorney General Jeff Sessions assigned Justice Department lawyer Christopher Perras to join the prosecution on the case. Perras is with the civil rights division. Sessions apparently wants the civil right attorneys to focus on cases where transgender people were murdered.
Perras, a 34-year-old New Hampshire native, now lives in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 2011. After graduating, he received the Fiske Award, which supports graduates who choose a career in public service. While at Michigan, he was the executive editor of the Michigan Law Review, and received a scholarly writing award for his paper “Striking an Appropriate Balance Between Real and Charge Offense Sentencing in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.” He also volunteered at the law school’s Human Trafficking Clinic.
In addition to his prosecutions against law enforcement officials accused of civil rights violations, Perras has also prosecuted hate-crime cases against private citizens, including one against an Iowa man sentenced to 10 years in prison for a racially motivated attack against an African-American man. – heavy.com
This may seem like an actual good appointment by Sessions. We will keep our eyes on this case.
Both Jaron Purham and Jorge Sanders-Galvez have been charged with Johnson’s murder, but they will have separate trials. Sanders-Galvez’s trial began on Oct. 24. Perras will assist in his prosecution, which, if Sanders-Galvez is convicted of a hate crime and murder using a firearm, the death penalty is a possibility.
Jaron Purham will remain in a St. Louis, Missouri jail until he is cleared of other charges.
Even though Perras is assisting, no federal charges have been made yet against either defendant.