An Oklahoma judge told a man to pray for salvation before sentencing him to life in prison for killing a transgender woman in 2017 at an Oklahoma City motel.
Brandon Michael Tyson, 32, was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty in February to fatally shooting Brooklyn BreYanna Stevenson, 31, The Oklahoman reported. Tyson is not eligible for parole.
Authorities did not say Tyson killed Stevenson because of her gender identity, but the slaying alarmed Oklahoma City’s LGBTQ community. The Human Rights Campaign listed her as one of 29 transgender people killed in the U.S. in 2017.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater did not immediately return a phone call for comment Thursday.
Tyson, whose prior record includes convictions for burglary and illegal possession of guns, told police he shot Stevenson because she attacked him. Prosecutors said there was no evidence of a fight and that the two had sex before the shooting.
Defense attorney Gary Higginbotham blamed the shooting on drug addiction.
“Mr. Tyson has nothing but remorse for what he’s done to the victim, the victim’s family and his family,” Higginbotham told the newspaper. “He has no justification. It’s just the effects of drug addiction.”
The victim’s mother, Vivian Stevenson, testified that she had no words for the helplessness and loss felt by her and her family.
“Burying a child is nothing that a parent should have to do, so with that being said, I never wanted the death penalty for you because I did not want your parents to have to go through what I am having to endure,” Vivian Stevenson said to Tyson. “I do pray that you get life without parole, though, because you have proven by your actions that you do not deserve to be free ever again.”
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com