August 2, 2014 at 10:38 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
U.S. Attorney retains hate crime listing in stabbing of trans teen

Reginald Klaiber, gay news, Washington Blade

Reginald Anthony Klaiber, 24, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon in the July 30 stabbing attack of a 15-year-old transgender girl on board a Metro subway car. (Photo courtesy of the Metro Transit Police)

The U.S. Attorney’s office has upheld the decision by Metro Transit Police to classify as a hate crime the July 30 stabbing of a 15-year-old transgender girl on board a Green Line Metro train near the Fort Totten Station.

In court papers filed on July 31, prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s office charged Reginald Anthony Klaiber, 24, of Greenbelt, Md., with assault with a dangerous weapon-bias related in connection with the stabbing incident.

“Such criminal act demonstrated the prejudice of Reginald Klaiber based on the actual or perceived gender identity and expression of [the victim],” one of the prosecutors states in a criminal complaint filed in D.C. Superior Court.

The victim, who was being treated for a non-life threatening stab wound at Washington Hospital Center, was tentatively scheduled to be sent home on Friday, according to Jae-La White, one of two friends who were with the victim at the time of the stabbing.

Superior Court Judge Karen Howze ordered Klaiber held in jail until he appeared in court on Friday, for a preliminary hearing. But at the start of Friday’s hearing, defense attorney Veronice Holt said she and her client weren’t prepared for the hearing, saying she was unable to schedule sufficient time to consult with Klaiber.

At Holt’s request, Superior Court Judge Frederick Sullivan agreed to postpone the hearing until Wednesday, Aug. 6. Sullivan ordered that Klaiber remain in custody until the Aug. 6 hearing, when he is expected to rule on whether Klaiber should remain held until the time of his trial or until a possible agreement is reached in which he pleads guilty with the promise by prosecutors of a reduced sentence.

Holt and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Bruckmann, the lead prosecutor in the case, made reference to a possible early “disposition” of the case during Friday’s court proceeding, suggesting that a plea offer might be under consideration. However, William Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office, told the Washington Blade a plea offer isn’t on the table.

“We typically do not comment on the possibility of pleas in our cases,” he said in an email, “but I can tell you that no plea offer has been made in this case. We expect the preliminary hearing to take place on Wednesday.”

Under the D.C. criminal code, a conviction for assault with a dangerous/deadly weapon carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. A conviction for that offense with a hate crime designation could subject Klaiber to a one-and-a-half times “enhanced” penalty at the discretion of the judge.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • brians ions

    This is good to hear, and I hope the victim and her friends recover quickly in all ways from this ordeal.
     
    The Channel 4 report suggested there was some number of bystander witnesses, as well. So that should make for a stronger case.
     
    Last month, Chief Lanier put out, through MPD-SLD’s listserv, a citywide advisory and appeal for community information regarding a number of robberies of trans women on and around Eastern Avenue in NE DC (MPD’s 6th District). The Chief indicated GLLU was working with a DC/PG County(?) multi-jurisdictional response to close those cases near the District line.
     
    Does anyone know what the situation is with those cases? Were any cases closed? Have those robberies stopped or slowed?

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