Ohio Supreme Court upholds death sentence for murderer with gender dysphoria claim

Drain was in a unit with prison psychiatric services due to a castration attempt.

Published: October 20, 2022 7:54am

Updated: October 20, 2022 9:10am

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for a convicted murderer who is transgender after the inmate argued that defense attorneys did not properly demonstrate prior trauma, including gender dysphoria.

In a 6-1 ruling Wednesday, the state's highest court upheld the conviction and death sentence of Victoria Drain, formerly known as Joel Drain, who was found guilty in the 2019 murder of fellow inmate Christopher Richardson.

While serving a 38-year sentence for stabbing and strangling a man to death in 2016, Drain attempted to recruit Richardson to help kill an inmate whom Drain thought was a child molester, court records show. Richardson refused to be involved so Drain strangled and beat him to death to prevent him from informing prison authorities about the plan.

At the time, Drain was in a unit with prison psychiatric services due to a castration attempt, court documents show.

The court ruled that gender dysphoria and other prior traumas did not present any mitigating value to the sentence or conviction.

"The crime itself was violent, intensely personal and carried out in a brutal fashion," the court said.

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