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23 October 2012

Leslie Nelson (1957 - ) warehouse worker, sex worker, inmate.

Glenn Nelson was regarded as an emotionally disturbed child as early as kindergarten. During his teen years he became increasingly reclusive, relating to no-one other than his mother. He identified as female, and from 1984 was considering a sex change. In 1986 he twice traveled to Colorado to consult with Dr Biber, and began taking female hormones.

The same year Nelson was robbed at knifepoint in Philadelphia, and in response purchased a handgun. In 1987 he was arrested for felony possession of a weapon and dum-dum bullets. He served sixty days, received probation and had to have psychological evaluation. It was now illegal for him to possess a firearm.

He contemplated suicide. He resumed taking estrogens, and had breast augmentation. Leslie completed the sex change in 1992, despite a sex therapist declaring that psychological problems remained, although she was at risk of suicide if denied the change. The transgender program at Pennsylvania Hospital rejected her because she had a depressive disorder, and they felt that she did not feel like a woman in a man's body.

On returning to her warehouse job, Leslie was severely harassed and quit. She tried to be an exotic dancer, but was clumsy, and also failed to pass as female. She became a hooker in Camden, New Jersey.

On April 20, 1995, Nelson shot and killed two police officers, John McLaughlin and John Norcross, and wounded a third, Richard Norcross, John's brother, in a shootout at her parent’s home at Haddon Heights, New Jersey. She had refused to produce her gun, an AK-47 assault rifle on the policemen’s first visit after a neighbor had suggested that she had fondled her niece, and when they returned with a warrant she opened fire.

Leslie Nelson, with public defender Joe Krakora,
She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the murder of Officer John Norcross and life in prison with thirty years of parole ineligibility for the Murder of Investigator John McLaughlin. She was given a consecutive ten-year term with five years of parole ineligibility for the second-degree assault of Detective Richard Norcross. For a while she was the only transsexual on death row in the US in an all-male institution. Nelson's lawyers contended that a) she was under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance; b) her capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of her conduct was significantly impaired as the result of a mental disease, but not to a degree that would allow her to plead the insanity defense. They also cited the civil suit filed by the surviving officer, Richard Norcross, to the effect that police guidelines for such high risk situations were inadequate.

The New Jersey Supreme Court twice ruled that executing ‘such a mentally ill and psychologically disturbed person’ would be cruel and unusual punishment., and with the agreement of the prosecution, she was sentenced to three life sentences, with a 65-year bar on parole. This permitted her to be transferred to the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, in Clinton, New Jersey.

She was Inmate of the Month at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in August 2005 for tutoring other inmates.

*Not Leslie Nielsen, the Hollywood comedy actor.

The Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women quite sensibly employed only female guards.  The following is from the Wikipedia page:
A class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of male correctional officers alleging that the policy of only employing female officers was discriminatory. In 1991, the state entered into a consent agreement allowing male correctional officers to work at Edna Mahan.
The addition of male officers resulted in problems leading to additional legal action. Officers were disciplined, fired, or criminally prosecuted for offenses including exchanging sexual favors for gifts or money.

1 comment:

Zagria said...

Nelson was at first sentenced to death by lethal injection for one murder and life in prison with thirty years of parole ineligibility for the second. Would that be concurrent or subsequent?