First ever transgender Death Row killer pleads for execution to be cancelled

The first ever openly transgender Death Row inmate has pleaded against an upcoming execution and has cited their mental health as defence.

Legal representatives for Amber McLaughlin, 49, have asked governor Mike Parson to spare the Death Row inmate who was convicted of killing Beverly Guenther, 45, on November 20, 2003.

The killing saw the 45-year-old raped and stabbed to death in a sick crime that landed McLaughlin on Death Row, with lawyers now appealing against the death sentence.

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According to information gathered from the Death Penalty Information Centre, there are no known cases yet of a transgender prisoner being executed.

Public defender Larry Komp said: "It's wrong when anyone's executed regardless, but I hope that this is a first that doesn't occur.

"Amber has shown great courage in embracing who she is as a transgender woman in spite of the potential for people reacting with hate, so I admire her display of courage."

Mental health issues and a traumatic childhood were noted by McLaughlin's lawyers, background a jury during the 49-year-old's trial did not hear.

Kelli Jones of the Governor's Office has said they are currently reviewing the request for mercy, with Jones adding: "These are not decisions that the Governor takes lightly."

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Background details of McLaughlin's life were aired as a letter to Governor Parson revealed the Death Row inmate had been tasered and had faeces rubbed on their face as a child.

The 49-year-old, who is said to be living in isolation in the lead-up to their execution, was sentenced to death by a judge after a jury were unable to decide on death or life in prison without parole.

In a letter to Parson, both the lack of decision made by the jury and the remorse shown by McLaughlin were cited as reasons to remove the death order, ABCNews reported.

Karen Pojmann of the Corrections Department, said: "It is extremely unusual for a woman to commit a capital offense, such as a brutal murder, and even more unusual for a women to, as was the case with McLaughlin, rape and murder a woman."

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