Sailor pleads guilty for killing transgender woman
Today justice for the family of a transgender woman killed by a Navy sailor last July in Jackson County. Dwanya Hickerson met Dee Whigham online, they went to a hotel in St. Martin, had sex and then Hickerson stabbed Whigham and stole her purse. He was sentenced to 40 years for the murder and 15 years for the robbery.
“I just, I miss my brother. I miss my brother.” Tears in the courtroom over the death of 25-year-old Dee Whigham who worked in Hattiesburg as a nurse before being stabbed 190 times, the transgender woman was found dead in a St. Martin hotel room. District Attorney Tony Lawrence said, “When we resort to violence there’s never a good ending. That’s what happened in this case. Two families walked out of this courtroom today without their family members.”
Former Navy sailor Dwanya Hickerson pled guilty in Jackson County Court Thursday for murdering Whigham and then robbing her the night of July 23rd, 2016. In court, Hickerson admitted to killing Whigham. Hickerson was sentenced to 40 years for the murder and 15 years for the robbery. Adrianne Wells from the lead defense council for Hickerson said, “By the result, I just think it was the only fair result we could come to in this case. It was the best that we could. It was just a very unfortunate situation for everybody and today was just a very sad day.”
In court one of Whigham’s family members asked the judge for a longer sentencing for Hickerson. The family says although they didn’t agree with Whigham’s lifestyle choices, she was a good person and hard worker. “He chose the life he wanted to live and I think if you heard what his mom said he was happy with the life he chose to live and he didn’t want to die. She didn’t want to die,” said Lawrence.
According to autopsy results, Whigham was stabbed a total of 190 times, showing multiple wounds all over her body and several on her face. Whigham and Hickerson met online before the night she died. Hickerson was a former Navy sailor who was assigned to Keesler Air Force Base for training. Assistant State Public Defender Bill Labarre said, “He accepted responsibilities for his acts and he’s not proud of those events and he’s got to live with the consequences for the rest of his life.”
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