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Araujo's Accused Murderer Seeks Bond, Transgender Group Says No

The National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC) issued a statement requesting that the judge continue to deny bail for murder suspect Michael Magidson. Meanwhile, Magidson's attorney is continuing forward to petition for reversal of a judge's order revoking his client's bail. Trial dates are scheduled to be set July 8.
For Immediate Release: Dated July 7, 2003
From: The National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC)
Contacts: Robyn Walters, Seattle, Washington
Chair, Vanessa Edwards Foster; Houston, Texas
Contact Email: ntacmedia (at) aol.com
media (at) ntac.org
Contact Phone: 832-483-9901
360-437-4091
Website: www.ntac.org

Araujo's Accused Murderer Seeks Bond, Transgender Group Says No

The National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC) issued a statement requesting that the judge continue to deny bail for murder suspect Michael Magidson. Meanwhile, Magidson's attorney is continuing forward to petition for reversal of a judge's order revoking his client's bail. Trial dates are scheduled to be set July 8.

"The Gwen Araujo murder case is one of the precious few in which a diligent police investigation has led to arrest of the transgendered victim's alleged killers followed by conscientious prosecution and thorough preliminary treatment in the courts. Due to the gruesome details of the case and its high visibility, we in the Transgender Community are loath to see the risk to justice being served by providing opportunity for the prime suspect to flee the country as well as the risk of allowing a person capable of such violence access to members of the GLBT community. Accordingly, NTAC calls upon Judge Mark Kenneth Burr to continue disallowance of bail for Michael Magidson."

Magidson, 22, was charged along with three others in the brutal death of a transgender Newark, California teenager Gwen (born Eddie) Araujo. Seventeen year-old Araujo had attended a party, and was later beaten, kicked, bludgeoned with a can, a frying pan, and a shovel, strangled, and buried in a shallow grave 150 miles from home. One suspect, Jaron Nabors, 19 at the time of the murder, plea bargained and testified against Magidson, Jose Antonio Merel, then 22, and Jason Cazares, also 22 at the time.

After several hearings, Magidson was granted a $1.68 million bail, bonded out and released for six weeks until the preliminary hearing. At the preliminary hearing, Judge Burr called Magidson the "primary actor" in the killing and revoked his bond.

Michael Thorman, attorney for Michael Magidson, has requested that a bond be re-established, calling Judge Burr's order, "unconstitutional." The only way Magidson can be held without bail is if a judge finds he is a risk to the community, Thorman said.

"It has to be a crime of violence where proof of guilt is evident, and there is - by clear and convincing evidence - a substantial likelihood the person's release would result in great bodily harm to others," said Thorman, quoted in the Tri-Valley Herald. He argued his client is unlikely to commit further violence. "(Magidson) has no history of violence and no criminal record."

"He reacted to a particular event without any indication it will ever reoccur," Thorman said.

"You could use the same argument with a Rottweiler," responded Foster of NTAC. "Let's say this dog has no history of aggressive reaction, then suddenly snaps one day and attacks - with devastating consequences. Since this Rottweiler had no prior history of attack, and gives no indication of further violence, is it an appropriate response to allow this dog to roam free again? What if a catalyst, similar to what drew the first attack, occurs again?"

"Not to be vengeful, but we've been shown Magidson's reaction to one trans-person, Gwen "Lida" Araujo," Foster added. "With an estimated 10% of the population being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, is it really safe to have Magidson out on the street where he may encounter more 'catalysts' to such spontaneous violence?"

"We don't want to risk another tragedy a la Gwen Araujo," finished Foster. "We ask that Judge Burr err on the side of public safety."

“I feel in my heart that he will not be let out again,? said Gwen Araujo’s mother, Sylvia Guerrero. “I only hope and pray that I am right.?

- 30 -

Founded in 1999, NTAC - the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition - is a §501(c)(4) civil rights organization working to establish and maintain the right of all transgendered, intersexed, and gender-variant people to live and work without fear of violence or discrimination.
 
 


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