Man convicted of hate crime, murder in 2019 killing of transgender teen
A man has been found guilty of murder and hate crimes for the 2019 killing of a transgender teen in Washington state, in a case that inspired a new state law barring the “LGBTQ panic defense”, The Columbian newspaper reported.
The jury in Clark County Superior Court returned their verdict Friday, convicting David Bogdanov on charges of second-degree murder and malicious harassment in the death of 17-year-old Nikki Kuhnhausen. Bogdanov, 27, faces a prison sentence of 11 to 19½ years.
Prosecutors alleged that the Vancouver, Wa., native strangled Kuhnhausen in June 2019 using a phone charger cord after engaging in sexual contact with her and finding out she was transgender, according to the AP.
After committing the crime, Bogdanov dumped Kuhnhausen’s body into the side of Larch Mountain, then asked a friend to get rid of his vehicle and fled to Ukraine for six weeks before returning to the U.S.
Bogdanov claimed his actions were in self-defense, saying that Kuhnhausen was trying to reach for a gun near the driver seat of his vehicle, the AP reported.
In 2020, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed into law the Nikki Kuhnhausen Act, which prevents a criminal defense based on the discovery of a victim’s actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation — also called the “LGBTQ panic defense.”
Linden Walls, a member of the group Justice for Nikki, told The Columbian that the guilty verdict brought a sense of relief.
“We were all holding hands while we were awaiting the verdict to be read and that was really powerful,” Walls said. “It felt like we were all together … and the sense of relief that came that we got justice for Nikki, that we were able to push this and the jury could see it and did the right thing. That felt really good.”
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