Former Navy Sailor Dwanya Hickerson, 21, pleaded guilty on Thursday to murder and has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the 2016 stabbing and killing of Dee Whigham. Hickerson will also be serving a 15-year robbery charge and could have faced the death penalty had he gone on trial for the original charge of capital murder.
According to autopsy reports, 25-year-old Whigham suffered 119 stab wounds, many of which were to her face and neck, her throat being slashed three times. It is believed that Hickerson ‘snapped’ after learning that his date was a male-to-female (MtF) transgender woman.
Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy Leo Allen said that surveillance shows Hickerson and Whigham walking into a Best Western Hotel room at about 8:30 p.m. Apparently, Hickerson was seen leaving the hotel alone 23 minutes later, he had just taken a shower and his shirt was around his neck.
Hate crimes such as this one are a really big problem. It can be very difficult for certain people to find a safe space and to be accepted. It’s important that we talk about it when it happens so that we can learn from these kinds of issues and figure out how to accept another person, even if we might view them as a bit different.
According to what Hickerson said in court, the two had been talking online for a few months and decided to meet while she had been staying in Biloxi with her friends. Whigham picked him up at the gate and they went straight to a hotel where they participated in ‘some form’ of physical activity before Whigham told Hickerson that she was a transgender woman.
That’s when Hickerson said ‘I lost it. I lost my mind,’ before explaining that he didn’t really remember much afterward.
Denisha Whigham, Dee’s sister–also spoke in court. ‘I want you to know that you took away my only brother [referring to Dee], I don’t have any other brothers or sisters.’ She also explained that she didn’t approve of her/his lifestyle so she understands his anger. Conclusively, Dwayna Hickerson has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the 2016 stabbing of a transgender woman in Mississippi.