MANHATTAN (CN) - Nearly three years after a crime that called attention to anti-transgender violence here, a New Yorker who beat 21-year-old Islan Nettles to death in Harlem pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Monday.
In August 2013, James Dixon yelled homophobic slurs and brutally attacked Nettles after he saw Nettles and her friends walking late at night near a police precinct in Harlem, according to reports at the time.
Nettles slipped into a coma and died a week later.
Dixon was not indicted until 2015 because some witnesses identified his friend as the attacker, the New York Times reported.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance depicted the conviction as a sign of his office's commitment to protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Yorkers.
"With this conviction, James Dixon has finally been brought to justice for this brutal and lethal assault," Vance said. "Members of the transgender community are far too often the targets of violent crime."
Not everyone felt New York authorities devoted enough attention to the case as it unfolded.
Reporting from a protest held in its wake, Out Magazine quoted the victim's mother Delores Nettles shouted through a megaphone: "Why didn't a detective come to the hospital?"
The year before Nettles' killing, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that roughly half of all hate-crime homicides targeted transgender women, even though transgender survivors and victims represented only 10.5 percent of total reports to the group.
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