Trial begins for Blaine man accused in transgender killing

  • Article by: ABBY SIMONS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 8, 2011 - 6:20 AM
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A vigil for Christopher "Krissy" Bates in January. Anne, a transgender woman, held a candle and flower as a large group made their way to Krissy's apartment building near 12th Ave. in Minneapolis during the vigil. Anne said she was afraid to give her last name and didn't know Krissy personally but wanted to show support.

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

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Opening arguments begin Tuesday in the trial of a man accused of killing Christopher "Krissy" Bates, a crime that triggered outrage among the Twin Cities transgender community and beyond.

Arnold Darwin Waukazo, 41, of Blaine, is accused of first-degree murder in the stabbing and strangling of Bates, 45, last January at the Minneapolis apartment where Bates lived.

Waukazo waived his right to a jury trial. Instead, Senior Judge Allen Oliesky will hear testimony and issue the verdict.

Bates, who was biologically male but lived as a woman, had begun dating Waukazo a couple of weeks before the slaying, charges said. A caretaker discovered Bates' body after concerned friends hadn't heard from Bates. Police found a blood-stained knife in the apartment and a half-empty bottle of brandy with a receipt from a downtown Minneapolis liquor store. Police watched store surveillance footage and saw a man later identified as Waukazo buying the liquor.

Waukazo told police the two had argued and that he "dispatched" Bates by strangling with his hands, then stabbing the body with a folding knife, the complaint said.

Neighbors said Bates, who had moved to Minneapolis from Kentucky not long before the slaying, was concerned about security in the apartment and had asked for protection after a recent sexual assault. However, a friend said Bates dated Waukazo, and that the two had talked about moving in together.

Bates' killing spawned a vigil that drew about 200 people.

ABBY SIMONS

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