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Bail Set for Suspected Killer of Trans Teenager

Nikki Kuhnhausen

A man accused of murdering a transgender teenager will be allowed to leave jail if he can make bail. But he will face hate-crime charges in court.

Protesters chanted outside a Vancouver, Wash., courtroom last week after a judge set bail for David Bogdanov, a 25-year-old man accused of murdering 17-year-old Nikki Kuhnhausen last year, at $750,000, according to The Columbian.

Kuhnhausen was reported missing last June, but her body was found December 7 near Larch Mountain in Washington State. The discovery happened after a person reported finding a human skull. Police arrested Bogdanov 10 days later on a second-degree murder charge.

Prosecutors decided last week to add a hate crime charge against Bogdanov. That’s possible because the state legislature last year added gender identity to its existing hate-crimes statute.

Investigators believe Bogdanov killed Kuhnhausen after learning she was transgender.

But because Bogdanov had no prior criminal record, Judge David Gregerson set bail at $750,000. Prosecutors had asked the judge to deny bail, or to set it much higher at $6 million. Kuhnhausen’s mother, Lisa Woods, also told the court that Bogdanov should not be allowed to go free on bail.

“I want to stress that the LGBTQ community is not safe with this monster on the streets,” she said in court.

The decision to set bail at such a low level sparked outrage in the Facebook group “Justice for Nikki.”

There, users hinted at the suspected circumstance behind Bogdanov and Kuhnhausen meeting, saying the 25-year-old suspected murderer solicited the teenager for sex and gave her alcohol before killing her.

Bogdanov previously told police he and Kuhnhausen had a “conflict” in his van after he discovered she was trans. But he said she left his van afterward and he did not hear from her again.

Many expressed concern Bogdanov could be a flight risk, and that family could raise the money for bail and take him to Russia before a trial could begin.

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