Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Attacker of Transgender Student Gets Seven Years.

Terrance Calhoun, who brutally robbed Houston Community College Student Lance Reyna last June, was sentenced to seven years in prison today by Harris County District Court Judge Belinda Hill.

Judge Hill had previously indicated that she was likely to give Calhoun deferred adjudication with a requirement to serve one year in a lock-up drug treatment facility and 10 years of community supervision. Hill gave no explanation for why she changed her mind.

At Calhoun's previous hearing several dozen family members were in attendance, no doubt to bolster his defense attorney's claim that Calhoun's large "Christian" family would keep him on the straight and narrow (despite their inability to do so after the drug conviction he was on parole for at the time of the attack). Only a handful attended today's hearing.

Crystal Johnson, who claims to be Calhoun's fiance, was also in attendance and left the courtroom in tears; in sharp contrast to her repeated threats posted on the website of Houston's Transgender Center and on social media websites. Reyna continues to receive anonymous threatening text messages, which have been reported to police.

The attack took place on June 22 at HCC's Central Campus. Calhoun followed Reyna into the restroom, shouted “Hey queer!”, and demanded Reyna’s possessions while thrusting a knife against Reyna’s throat. After robbing Reyna, Calhoun struck him in the face and shoved him to the floor.

The attack was reported to the Department of Public Safety as a Hate Crime but Harris County prosecutors declined to pursue Hate Crime sentence enhancements since doing so would not have increased the maximum sentence Calhoun could have received.

For more background on the case read Sentencing Delayed for Attacker of Trans Man


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