On August 17, 2013, Islan Nettles met James Dixon on the streets in Harlem. Dixon started flirting with Nettles, unaware that she was a transgender woman. When Dixon’s friends started mocking him, Dixon became enraged and struck Nettles, causing her to fall to the ground. Evidence indicated that she was repeatedly struck while lying on the pavement, and that her head had been rammed into the pavement. Five days after the incident, Nettles died as a result of her injuries at age 21.
Dixon later told police officers that he “just didn’t want to be fooled,” and that he had gone into “a blind fury” when he discovered that Nettles was transgender. On the eve of trial, Dixon pled guilty to manslaughter in exchange for a promised sentence of 12 years in prison, out of a maximum sentence of 25 years.
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