Video: From Democracy Now on April 27, 2012
On May 2, the Hennepin County (Minnesota) District Attorney Mike Freeman announced that just as jury selection for Chrishaun (‘CeCe’) McDonald’s trial was about to be completed, a plea arrangement was reached in which she pleaded guilty to second degree manslaughter and is expected to be sentenced to 41 months in prison for fatally stabbing Dean Schmitz. Had she been convicted of second degree murder, she was facing up to a term of 150 months. Sentencing is scheduled for June 4.
Leaving aside the earlier claims in the video that McDonald was being charged with two counts of second degree murder (beats me), some history of the case is in order. And if McDonald killed Schmitz in self-defense, why did she accept the plea deal, and assumedly allocute to her guilt?
Well, let’s see what she and her defense attorney were up against.
Fightbacknews.org reported that at pre-trial evidentiary hearings on April 27, 2012:
Judge Moreno sustained a motion from the prosecution to exclude the deceased’s criminal record, which includes three assault convictions. Schmitz was convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, his ex-girlfriend’s 14-year old daughter and his ex-girlfriend’s father. Judge Moreno has yet to rule whether the swastika tattoo on the deceased’s chest will be admitted into the trial, either in photos or testimony. Judge Moreno refused to approve the defense’s request for expert witness to testify about climate of violence transgender people navigate in Minneapolis and nationally. He has yet to rule on whether an expert witness can educate the jury about what the word “transgender**” means.
I never did discover how the judge ruled on that last issue, but continuing: