Activists are planning to protest after a San Antonio judge ruled that the actions of a man who pushed a transgender woman into the San Antonio River, thus causing her to drown, did not constitute criminal conduct, according to a report by Out in SA.
A River Walk barge operator found the fully-clothed body of trans woman Kenne McFadden in the San Antonio River last April. Last November, Mark Daniel Lewis was indicted for manslaughter by a Bexar County grand jury, based on evidence that he had pushed McFadden into the river while she was “impaired by alcohol,” and then refused to help her out of the water, causing her to drown.
Prosecutors trying to get Lewis’ probation — for failing to register as a sex offender — revoked cited his indictment in connection with McFadden’s death during a hearing in state District Judge Joey Contreras’ court. But instead of revoking Lewis’ probation, Contreras ruled that, although McFadden’s death was a “tragedy,” Lewis’; actions did not “rise to the level of criminal conduct.”
So not only did Lewis not get his probation revoked, Contreras’ ruling created a situation where Lewis now can’t be tried on the manslaughter charges, according to Out in SA’s report, because it would create a situation of double jeopardy (a person acquitted of a crime cannot be tried again for that same crime).
In announcing plans to stage a protest, representatives of San Antonio Gender Association, Pride Center San Antonio and the Transgender Education Network of Texas said, “Transgender women of color and black trans women are being murdered at an alarming pace. When this happens in our city we expect to see justice served.
“We demand justice for Kenne! We refuse to go away and will show up to make our voices heard!”
Protest organizers are also angry with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office for handling the case poorly. “Kenne was poorly represented by District Attorney Nico LaHood’s office and we will not let this be forgotten,” they said.
It has been pointed out that Contreras, recently appointed to the bench by Gov. Greg Abbott, came in second this week in the five-way Republican Primary race for the 187th District Court, getting 24 percent of the vote. He faces Karl Alexander, a 122-year veteran of the Bexar County DA’s office that got 32 percent of the vote, in the May 22 runoff.
Whoever wins the runoff with face Democrat Stephanie Boyd, another longtime Bexar County prosecutor, in November.
LaHood lost his Democratic Primary race to Joe Gonzales this week. Gonzales faces defense attorney — and former prosecutor — Tylden Shaefer, who was unopposed in the Republican Primary, in the November general election.
Justice for Kenne Protest, organized by the San Antonio Gender Association, Pride Center San Antonio and the Transgender Education Network of Texas. Tuesday, March 13 in front of the Bexar County District Attorney’s office, 101 W. Nueva St. in San Antonio. A press conference begins at noon and will be followed by a march.