Scroll To Top
World

Closing arguments
begin in Araujo murder case

Closing arguments
begin in Araujo murder case

A prosecutor asked jurors in Hayward, Calif., on Wednesday to imagine the last, frightening moments of life for a transgender teenager who was murdered, allegedly by three male companions after they learned she was biologically male. Gwen Araujo, 17, was born a boy but grew up to believe her true identity was female. Prosecutors say she was beaten and strangled after the defendants discovered that the pretty, flirtatious teen had male genitalia. "Think about wrapping that rope around the neck of a living, breathing human being and squeezing it tighter and tighter and tighter," prosecutor Chris Lamiero said in closing arguments. "What do you think was going through the killer's mind? 'Got to keep holding it, got to keep holding it."' Three 25-year-old men--Michael Magidson, Jose Merel, and Jason Cazares--face first-degree murder charges in the case. A fourth, Jaron Nabors, 22, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in exchange for testifying against his friends. In a previous trial, which ended with a hung jury last year, Lamiero had asked jurors to find all three guilty of murder. But this time he came down hardest on Magidson, calling him a "pathetic, despicable excuse for a man." Cazares's attorney, Tony Serra, was the only defense attorney to argue Wednesday. He attacked Nabors, the prosecution's chief witness, calling him a "pathological liar" who was more deeply involved in the crime than he has admitted. Closing arguments were scheduled to continue Thursday. The defendants, who knew Araujo as Lida, met her in late summer 2002 and soon became friends. The teenager started hanging out at Merel's house in the San Francisco suburb of Newark, where they drank, smoked marijuana, and played dominoes. Magidson and Merel had sexual encounters with Araujo, and, according to Merel, so did Nabors, although Nabors denies that. Suspicions about Araujo's gender began to grow after Magidson and Merel compared notes, leading to a confrontation in the early morning hours of October 4, 2002. The debate was settled when Araujo's underwear was roughly pulled aside. (AP)

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories