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Murder of Black Trans Woman Pebbles LaDime Doe Becomes First Federal Hate Crime Trial Held on Basis of Gender Identity

News & Opinion

For the first time in American history, a federal hate crime trial is being held for a gender identity based murder. 

On February 24, 2024, in a process that took an estimated four hours, a jury found Daqua Lameek Ritter, 26, guilty of murdering Pebbles LaDime “Dime” Doe, a 24 year old Black transgender woman who was killed in Allendale County, South Carolina on August 4, 2019. 

The U.S Department of Justice alleges that on the day of Doe’s murder, Ritter persuaded the woman into driving to a remotely populated rural county in South Carolina. Ritter shot her three times in the head after they reached an isolated area near a relative’s home. 

Prosecutors accuse Ritter killed Doe because of her “actual and perceived gender identity”, and to hide their sexual relationship, including his own sexual identity. 

In February of last year, Ritter faced a five count federal indictment charged with one hate crime count, one federal firearm count, and one obstruction count involving the investigation of Doe’s murder.

Xavier Pinckney, 24, another South Carolina man was charged with two obstruction offenses for providing false and misleading statements to authorities investigating the murder. Pinckney has plead guilty to a single count of obstruction for his involvement in the case. 

Pinckney admitted that he hid information from state authorities regarding the use of his phone to call and text Doe the day she was murdered and lied to state investigators about seeing Daquan Ritter on the morning of her death. 

Daqua Lameek Ritter (Mugshot)
Daqua Lameek Ritter (Mugshot)

The hate crime count against Ritter can carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The counts charged against both men with obstruction of justice carry a maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment. The count charging Pinckney with lying to federal investigators carries a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment. 

Ritter faces a maximum of life in prison without the possibility of parole and will be sentenced at an undetermined date. 

“We want the Black trans community to know that you are seen and heard, that we stand with the LGBTQI+ community, and that we will use every tool available to seek justice for victims and their families” - Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division 

Federal hate crime laws did not include offenses motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity until 2009. The first conviction motivated by a victim’s gender identity was in 2017. Currently, South Carolina has no hate-crimes law. As a result, the state relies on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and federal prosecution to address crimes that are motivated by prejudice on ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or in this case gender. 

Fatal violence perpetrated against the transgender community, especially against Black transgender women, has been a consistent trend across decades and continues to be on the rise. Cultural stigma and an inherently transphobic global society fuel these hate crimes and dehumanizes trans people resulting in a higher susceptibility to violence, sexual assault, and aggravated or simple assault compared to cisgender people. 

(Source: Logo)

At the time of Doe’s passing, her death was the 15th known case of deadly violence against the transgender community in 2019, and the second in South Carolina within the past several weeks, following the murder of Denali Berries Stuckey, a Black transwoman who was fatally shot in North Charleston. 

According to the Human Rights Campaign, Doe’s loved ones remembered her on social media as a “bright personality who showed love, and [was] the best to be around.”

A friend also posted “If I knew Friday was my last time seeing you, I would have hugged you even tighter.”


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