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Transgender man charged with murdering wife

Transgender man charged with murdering wife

An eight-month Internet romance led to a quickly arranged marriage, then to the bride's sudden death a month later. Doctors initially suspected that Linda Lou White, who weighed 350 pounds and was in poor health, had died of natural causes. But her mother, reached by an upstate New York hospital at her home in Memphis, Tenn., was immediately suspicious, authorities said Tuesday. "Did he kill her?" she asked over the phone. Sheriff's deputies began investigating, and the groom, Craig Musso, 44, was charged last week with murder. An autopsy revealed his 43-year-old wife had been strangled. Then came another twist: It turns out Musso was born female. While confirming that Musso is transgender--he is pictured in a 1978 high school yearbook as Wendy Musso--authorities said privacy laws bar them from discussing what medical procedures, if any, Musso has undergone. The couple met through an online chat room, and after their friendship blossomed, Musso took a bus to Memphis last month. They were married a day or two later, then went directly to Musso's home in Ontario, a rural town 20 miles east of Rochester, Sheriff Richard Pisciotti said. On November 12, deputies found White unresponsive in the couple's bathroom, and she was pronounced dead at a Rochester hospital. Her mother's conversation with a hospital social worker later "sparked our suspicion that something was abnormal" and an autopsy was ordered, the Wayne County sheriff said. Musso "cared a great deal" for his wife, said defense attorney Ronald Valentine, who noted that she had suffered from various illnesses. One possible defense, he told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, "is that he didn't do it." The victim, who had lived with her parents, appeared overjoyed at her wedding. "The day she was wed, she was a princess--that was the happiest day of her life in a long, long, long time," said the Reverend Shannon Saliba, a longtime friend of White's who married the couple on October 10 at his church in Bartlett, a Memphis suburb. "It's a very sad turn of events and very shocking to everyone in our community." Police seized a computer and various documents from Musso's rented home and were examining e-mails and chat-room conversations for evidence, Pisciotti said. He declined to discuss a possible motive, saying only that "we've seen some tragic endings to Internet relationships." Musso was ordered held without bail, and a grand jury will be convened in mid December. If convicted of second-degree murder, Musso could get up to 25 years to life in prison.

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