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Waukazo Convicted of Second Degree Murder for Killing Krissy Bates

Arnold Waukazo was convicted this afternoon of Second Degree Murder, in the brutal stabbing death of Krissy Bates, a transgender woman, in January 2011. Waukazo waived his right to a jury trial and Hennepin County District Judge Allen Oleisky presented the verdict today.

Defense counsel had argued to downgrade charges from First Degree, Pre-Meditated Murder to Manslaughter as a result of "heat of passion" and self defense. Waukazo and Bates had been involved in a relationship prior to Bates' death. The prosecution repeatedly argued that the aggressive and deliberate attack which resulted in Bates' death at the hands of Waukazo, in fact, the antithesis of self-defense and a passionate response.

"This is cold blooded murder," states Mike Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, in his summation. "This was a premeditated planned committed action... he killed her and left her to die."

According to trial testimony, Bates had recently begun dating Waukazo and told friends that he was "the one." On the evening of January 6, 2011, after an argument in Bates' Minneapolis apartment, Waukazo initially strangled Bates to the point of unconsciousness. According to his taped confession, when she moved, he made the deliberate decision to end her life. He reached for a small switchblade on a nearby table and proceeded to stab her multiple times causing significant, fatal injuries. Waukazo left the apartment, leaving her to be found five days later by the apartment manager.

"We know that the person she called the love of her life killed her in a brutal senseless act of transphobic, intimate partner violence," says OutFront Minnesota Anti-Violence Program Director Rebecca Waggoner. "And we are committed to making sure Krissy is remembered, and that her death will remind us all of the work yet to be done to create a safe community where all are respected and able to be themselves."

Transgender women are targeted for acts of violence at much higher rates than others in our communities. Over half of anti-LGBTQ murders in the United States in 2009 targeted transgender women according to the most-recent National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs report. People who knew Krissy told us that she didn't feel safe in the weeks leading up to her death. Interviews with those who knew her reveal that she faced an astounding amount of violence, harassment and discrimination throughout her life.

Krissy was new in town and had just begun to make new friends and find community. Those who knew her remember she was a funny, warm, loving woman with a great spirit and had a boundless capacity for love. Despite the hardship in her life, she often would say: "I was put on this earth for a reason."

The OutFront Minnesota Anti-Violence Program has been and continues to be deeply committed to finding justice for Krissy Bates as well as others within Minnesota's LGBT communities experiencing bias, violence and discrimination relating to their gender identity or sexual orientation. We thank our partners at WATCH and other community members for helping us to monitor the court proceedings.

"Regardless of whether the violence that affects our community comes at the hands of an intimate partner or a total stranger, it's a reminder that safety is one of the primary concerns of LGBT people," says OutFront Minnesota Executive Director Monica Meyer. "Our public policy work is in no small part guided by our commitment to creating a Minnesota where LGBT people are valued members of families and communities where others would not think of compromising their safety."

For more information, contact:

Monica Meyer, Executive Director, at 612.822.0127 ext 7556 or
Rebecca Waggoner, Anti-Violence Program Director at 612.384.1355


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