Wanda Derby, the 72-year-old Richland Hills woman charged with assaulting her gay neighbor, has died.
Derby had a court hearing Monday, Jan. 14. Christopher McGregor, the Tarrant County assistant district attorney assigned to Derby’s case, said he received her death certificate late last week. He said she passed away Nov. 25, but it takes a while before they notify the courts.
“Based on that, we have dismissed the assault cases against her,” he said.
Derby was indicted Sept. 14 for beating and choking her gay neighbor Lloyd Guerrero with a cane while yelling “faggot” in March. The case was presented as a felony, but the grand jury returned the case as a class-A misdemeanor. She was also charged with another assault for hitting Guerrero’s mother when she tried to intervene.
Guerrero said he learned of Derby’s passing back in November from her son. He said he reflects back on the incident between him and Derby and focuses on the positive things that came out of it after he later created Project: Blue Voice as a way for victims of hate crimes to share their stories. He said he will continue to work on that project and wishes Derby’s family his condolences.
“I would just say that bullying is unacceptable no matter what the age someone may be, these are the types of situations that some people may or may not go through just depending on the situation,” he said. “I would just like to focus on the good and put the bad behind me. We have many great things planned for Project: Blue Voice from this point on and I can never be happier as I am now with the organization and the moves we are making in order to protect those affected by these types of crimes and never have the chance to share with anyone how they feel or what kind of damage it does to each of us.
“Through all the bad this event caused me, I still wish her remaining kin the best and that Ms. Derby rest in peace and give them my condolences as I never wish harm or illness towards them. We are all people and we all make mistakes, some worse than ever but as this may be the end of a court case it’s only the beginning of many amazing things for us all that will come out of Project: Blue Voice.”