I don't know what comments I can make about this story. Although I know this isn't entirely true (so don't pick on me about it) I feel like the lesson of this story is that if you want to experience what it is like to violently take another human's life and only have to spend 4 years in jail for it, just make sure the person is transgendered.
Man Sentenced For Deadly Stabbing
August 24, 2005 — He thought he was taking home a woman. Instead, it was a man. Wednesday, Estanislao Martinez was sentenced for stabbing the cross dresser to death.
It may be the strange circumstances that led to a plea deal. For stabbing a cross-dressing man to death, Martinez will spend just four years in prison.
Estanislao Martinez pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. His attorney said Martinez panicked when he discovered the person he thought was a woman, was really a man.
Martinez will serve the minimum sentence for manslaughter involving the use of a knife.
Defense attorneys say the murder was not premeditated or planned. Instead, it was a heat of passion crime known as "gay panic" — when a transvestite represents him or herself as the opposite sex and the unknowing person becomes enraged when they find out the truth.
Legal experts say using the "gay panic" defense was effective in this case in getting a reduced sentence.
This is, of course, the same defense employed in part by the defense team for the murderers of Gwen Araujo whose second trial is in its final stages. From a PlanetOut article:
The sentence comes as the closely watched retrial involving the murder of transgender teen Gwen Araujo winds down in Alameda County in Northern California. Three men are charged with first-degree murder in the case, which is being retried after the judge declared a mistrial last year. In the first trial, defense lawyers used the "transgender panic" strategy, saying Araujo deceived the men -- two of whom had sex with her -- by concealing that she was biologically male.
Comparing the work of the district attorney offices in the two cases, Transgender Law Center Director Chris Daly said, "The performances of the different offices are on opposite ends of the spectrum. In Fresno County we have what seems to be a near abdication of their responsibilities, whereas in Alameda County we see an office committed to protecting all residents in the county."