On October 28th 2011, the life that Ky Peterson knew came to an end. Ky and his younger brothers (they were 14 and 16) took a walk to a neighborhood convenient store. After making his purchase, Ky waited outside the store for his brothers. While waiting, Ky was approached by a man who made sexual advances toward him. When Ky asked the man to leave him alone, the man then walked way, uttering derogatory insults as he got in his vehicle. Ky then went into the store and told his brothers that he was walking home, leaving them to follow behind him. As Ky passed an abandoned trailer in a nearby mobile home park, the man ran up behind him and hit Ky over the head (possibly with a gun), knocking him unconscious. The man then dragged Ky into the abandoned trailer and began assaulting him. At some point during the attack, Ky regained consciousness and began fighting and yelling for help. It was at this point that his brothers were walking near the trailer and ran to help Ky. The 2 boys pulled at the man to get him off of Ky, and while Ky struggled against the attacker, he grabbed the gun and shot the man 1 time.
With Ky injured and in shock, boys panicked (being young, black men from a small town in south Georgia) and attempted to cover up the killing. The next day, when police came and questioned the boys, Ky told them about the attack. The police took them in and threatened to charge the boys with armed robbery and 1st degree murder. and threatening to charge the teens as adults. Ky and his brothers stood by their story and when it became apparent that Ky was suffering from injuries, the police took him to The Lily Pad Center, where he was examined and a rape kit was done. The nurse who performed the examination confirmed that Ky had been brutally raped and sodomized, yet she felt the need to point out that Ky “did not exhibit behavior that is common with women who have been raped” . (Given that Ky is a trans man, I imagine he responded much like any other man who has been sexually assaulted)
After he was examined, the police returned Ky to the Sumter County jail. At his 1st appearance, he pleaded Not Guilty with a Sumter County Public Defender. After that, he was returned to the county jail where he sat for a YEAR with no word from a single person about his case. He was supposed to have a victim’s rights advocate and receive treatment for the physical and emotional injuries he received during his attack. He got nothing… they left a rape victim to rot in jail because he doesn’t look or act like a woman.
His public defender should have protected him under the Georgia Stand Your Ground Law. He never should have been charged in the first place.
He was supposed to have meetings with his public defender within 45 days of his arrest. No one from the county interviewed him about his case or his defense. The county realized that Ky was a victim and was forced to reduce his charge to Involuntary Manslaughter. That didn’t stop the county from trying to do as much damage as possible. 1 year later, another public defender appeared and offered Ky a plea “bargain” of 20 years with 15 years to serve.
*According to Georgia State Code O.C.G.A. § 16-5-3 (a) … A person who commits the offense of involuntary manslaughter in the commission of an unlawful act, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years.
Like many people caught unaware in the Georgia legal system, Ky was bullied into signing this plea “deal”. It is this sentence, along with the many other negligent actions of Sumter County, which leads us to believe that Ky has suffered tremendous injustices because of racial, gender, and sexual biases. Ky was unlawfully sentenced. Upon arriving in prison, Ky has suffered continuous dehumanizing treatment from Pulaski State Prison’s staff and officers. He’s not the only one; there is an unusually high population of Trans men and women being held with the U.S prison system. Our purpose is to raise awareness of Ky’s situation and the dehumanization that the transgender population suffers in state institutions.
You can donate to Ky’s legal fund here at Funding Freedom.
Thank you for your support.