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On July 12, 2016, Fair Michigan and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office formed the Fair Michigan Justice Project (FMJP) partnership to focus on homicides and other capital offenses committed against members of the LGBTQ community. This effort is funded by Fair Michigan at no cost to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office; Fair Michigan is a 501(c)(3). This initiative is one of the first of its kind in the nation. http://www.fairmichigan.org/fairmichigan-justice-project/

Fair Michigan and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office prosecute crimes against members of the LGBTQ community, especially those which are “cold” or those where witnesses or LGBTQ community members may be reluctant to come forward. The networking ability and outreach of Fair Michigan assists in reaching potential witnesses to resolve difficult cases.

Fair Michigan Justice Project Case Summaries

In the past year FMJP has advanced the cause of criminal justice and public safety in Metro Detroit by prosecuting the following cases.

Steven Edwards – The defendant assaulted the victim with a firearm while filming it, stating that he hated black gays. The defendant went on an hours-long rant about hating gay people and posted it on social media.

Convicted: Felonious Assault, Felony Firearm
Sentence: Two years in MDOC, three years probation on Felonious Assault

Iyesha Porter – The defendant discovered her teenage daughter was seeing another girl, picked her up from school and beat her while calling her anti-gay names.

Convicted: Child Abuse – Third Degree
Sentence: Two years Probation / Parenting Classes / Anger Management

Anthony Thornton – The defendant held a transgender man against his will and raped him.

Convicted: Two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct – First Degree, Unlawful Imprisonment
Sentence: 15 years to 30 years in MDOC.

Devin Higgins – The defendant targeted gay men on-line, lured them into sexual banter, then claimed his young child had seen pictures of their genitals. He said would contact police if he did not receive the money. The defendant did not have a child. The victim turned over $1500 before going to police. Defendant was also prosecuted federally for the same contact and extorting over $70,000 from another victim.

Convicted: Extortion
Sentence: Three and a half years – 20 years in MDOC.

Byron Wade – The defendant threatened a gay man with a knife for no other reason than being gay.

Convicted: Felonious Assault
Sentence: Three years probation, one year in Wayne County Jail

Jason Hogan – The defendant shot a transgender prostitute in the face after paying for sex acts.

Convicted: Assault With Intent to Murder, Felony Firearm
Sentence: Eighty-one months – 20 years in MDOC plus two years for Felony firearm

Kaleel Williams – The defendant met victim online; victim told Williams he was male and not female, Williams agreed to meet. At the meeting spot, the defendant arrived with latex gloves. When victim refused to get in the car, defendant called him a gay ass bitch and shot him twice in the back as he ran away.

Convicted: Assault With Intent to Murder, Felony Firearm
Sentence: Four and ½ years - 20 years plus two years for Felony Firearm

Sean Nathan – The defendant’s brother’s boyfriend had a fight over household responsibilities while calling the victim anti-gay names. The defendant stabbed the victim during the fight.

Convicted: Felonious Assault
Sentence: One year WCJ, three years Probation, Drug Treatment, Psych Eval and treatment, 180 days on tether upon release

The defendant was also convicted of Felonious Assault on a separate case and received a sentence concurrent with the case above.

Pending cases:

People v. Joshua Amos – Armed Robbery

People v. Andrew Czarnecki & Hameer Alkotait – Murder – First Degree, Mutilation of a Dead Body

People v. Anthony Thornton – Criminal Sexual Conduct – First Degree – (second victim)

*The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Statement of FM President Dana Nessel

President of Fair Michigan Justice Project Dana Nessel said, “During a time when we commemorate the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, and when hate crimes against the LGBTQ community have risen exponentially across the nation, I am comforted to know that the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and the law enforcement agencies in Wayne County have made such extraordinary efforts to partner with Fair Michigan in finding new and innovative ways to combat these brutal offenses. I am especially grateful to Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who recognized the need to take action to combat vicious acts against a class of people who were falling through the cracks of the criminal justice system. Thanks to the Fair Michigan Justice Project, the LGBTQ community in Wayne County can be assured that their lives and their safety truly matter and that the criminal justice system in our county will treat them with the respect and dignity deserved by all people.”

Statement of Prosecutor Kym Worthy

Prosecutor Kym Worthy said, “I am very proud of our work here. This collaboration has been even more successful than imagined. The cases that we have prosecuted would most likely have been ignored and certainly justice is now slowly being afforded. Our work has been so fruitful that we are seeking funding for another prosecutor and investigator. Clearly, members of the LGBTQ community are safer and more engaged since the WCPO and FMJP created this partnership.”

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