Metro Weekly

Two teens charged in hatchet attack on transgender woman in Charlotte

The teens allegedly beat the woman and stabbed her with a hatchet as they yelled anti-gay slurs

Dajion Tanner and Destiny Degraca have both been charged

Dajion Tanner and Destiny Degraca have both been charged

Two Charlotte teenagers are facing attempted first-degree murder charges for allegedly beating a transgender woman and chopping her body with a hatchet.

In addition to the attempted murder charge, Destiny Dagraca and Dajion Tanner, both 18, are also charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony conspiracy and first-degree kidnapping, reports The Charlotte Observer. A 15-year-old minor is also being held in connection with the crime. The police report of the incident lists a fourth suspect, but the status of that person remains unclear.

The victim, Ralayzia Taylor, 24, believes she was initially targeted for a robbery, but was beaten in broad daylight for nearly 10 minutes and stabbed with the hatchet only after her attackers discovered she was transgender.

Taylor says she was taking a late morning walk in a local park, and stopped to charge her phone and smoke a cigarette. When she tried to leave, the group pursued her, eventually punching her, stomping on her and stabbing her with both her own pocketknife and the hatchet. She says her attackers also called her a “faggot” while they beat her up.

Taylor says she called for help, but a man working on his car nearby just watched.

Injuries sustained in the hatchet attack - Photo: Ralayzia Taylor.

Injuries sustained in the hatchet attack – Photo: Ralayzia Taylor.

Eventually, the female in the group called off her companions, saying, “She’s already bloody enough.” Taylor then fled to a nearby recreation center, where she collapsed. She was later treated at the hospital for deep wounds on her back, which required two dozen stitches to close.

Although federal law recognizes crimes committed against someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity as a “hate crime,” North Carolina has no such law.

A spokeswoman for the FBI says the agency is aware of the case and is working with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. But the spokeswoman also said there is no formal investigation underway at this time.

LGBT rights organization Equality NC points to this attack — as well as a 61 percent increase in hate crimes based on sexual orientation during 2015 — as evidence that the Tar Heel State needs to update its hate crime laws.

“We’re renewing our call for the state to pass a hate crimes bill that includes sexual orientation and gender identity,” Equality NC spokesman Matt Hirschy told WSOC-TV.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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