Second man found guilty in the murder of genderfluid teenager Kedarie Johnson
Ten months after Jorge Sanders-Galvez was found guilty of killing genderfluid teenager Kedarie Johnson in 2016, a second man has been convicted.
According to local news outlet the Des Moines Register, Jaron Purham, who was ‘arrested near St. Louis about two weeks after the murder driving the same red Chevrolet Impala’ that picked up Johnson, has now been found guilty of first-degree murder.
He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Johnson, who identified as both male and female and sometimes went by the name Kandicee according to his relatives, was just 16-years-old when Sanders-Galvez and his cousin Purham, 26, saw him shopping in Burlington, Iowa. He was said to have been dressed in women’s clothing at the time.
The pair then followed Johnson in their car before kidnapping him and taking him to a home in the area. He was later found dead in an alley having been sexually assaulted, suffocated and fatally shot in the chest, police say.
During the trial, Iowa Assistant Attorney General Laura Roan told the court that it doesn’t matter who pulled the trigger that night as the crime seemingly required the participation of both individuals.
“They acted in concert. And it was deliberate,” she argued. “It was premeditated. And certainly, certainly it was with malice.”
Roan continued: “If you are not the shooter, you are helping restrain that target, the victim, Kedarie Johnson, at the time when he took his last breaths in the alley on Walnut.”
Purham will be sentenced in Des Moines County on 19 November.
In court, court advocate Penny Galvin delivered a statement written by Kedarie’s mother Katrina. It read: “My son, Kedarie Johnson, was a loving son, brother, grandson, nephew and cousin.
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“He was very compassionate and caring and he had an infectious smile. Kedarie could walk into a dull room and it would be filled with light and joy.
“Kedarie was robbed and deprived of his life. He was still a baby, my loving baby, who still had his whole life ahead of him. And from March 2, 2016, until I take my last breath, I will forever have a deep hole in my heart.”
Katrina’s words then began to focus on Sanders-Galvez as she said she hoped he would get the time he deserved and “rots in hell.”
She then openly wondered whether his mother would have the courage to face her about what her son did.
“As a mother and a woman, what I have been thinking is: ‘Does she have the heart to come to me and say she is sorry and (apologise) for what her son has done?’” she said.
“I just want to know: how does she feel about what has been said, and what has she been thinking throughout this whole thing?”