Mother of trans nurse calls plea deal a 'slap in the face'
Dwanya Hickerson said he "lost it" when he stabbed a transexual nurse 190 times at a Pascagoula hotel on July 23, 2016.
Hickerson, 23, was arrested 2 days later and charged with capital murder in the brutal death of 25-year-old Dee Whigham, a nurse at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg.
On Thursday, almost a year after he killed Whigham, Hickerson accepted a plea deal with a recommended sentence of 40 years in prison plus eight years for robbery.
The Navy sailor was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base for training in 2016, when he arranged to meet Whigham after the two chatted online for several months.
Whigham, who was dressed in stereotypical feminine clothing, picked up Hickerson at the gate at Keesler and they went straight to Whigham's hotel.
Once in the hotel room, they immediately had anal sex. Hickerson later said he thought Whigham just preferred anal sex until Whigham told Hickerson he was a transgender pretending to be a woman.
After repeatedly stabbing and slashing Whighams's throat, Hickerson took the time to shower and clean up the crime scene, according to investigators.
Whigham's purse and cell phone were stolen from the room.
Whigham’s friends, who were sharing the hotel room, found the mutilated body and called 911. Blood was still visible in the shower.
“I lost. I lost it,” Hickerson told the court, saying he didn't remember much of the murder. Psychiatrists call such memory loss "homosexual panic". The condition describes temporary loss of memory and perception before murdering gay or trans people.
After political pressure the condition was removed from the DSM, but some jurisdictions still recognize it as a legal defense.
After Hickerson accepted the plea deal, Whigham's mother called the deal a "slap in the face."
“He gets a chance to see his family and I don’t have that chance with my child,” said Vickie Blackney Whigham in court on Thursday.
Whigham's sister also addressed the court.
“I know bad things happened to good people,” Denisha Whigham said. “I don’t know what happened in that room because I wasn’t there and my brother can’t tell me. I just wanted you to know you took away my only brother -- and my daughter, his only niece, she was devastated.”
Photos by Sunherald.com, Facebook.com