BONNE TERRE, MO – Convicted rapist and murderer Amber McLaughlin became the first openly transgender inmate to be executed in the United States when she was put to death via lethal injection in Missouri on Tuesday night.
McLaughlin, 49, was sentenced to death following her 2005 conviction for the brutal rape and murder of Beverly Guenther; a judge pronounced the sentence in 2006 after a jury was unable to arrive at a unanimous decision concerning McLaughlin’s punishment.
McLaughlin was executed via a lethal dose of pentobarbital at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre on Tuesday, and was officially pronounced dead at 6:51 p.m.
“I am sorry for what I did,” McLaughlin claimed in a final written statement. “I am a loving and caring person.”
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McLaughlin issued a last-minute appeal for clemency, with citing alleged childhood trauma and mental health issues; however, Missouri Governor Mike Parson denied the motion, noting that McLaughlin was a danger to the community and that the victim’s loved ones deserved justice.
“McLaughlin is a violent criminal,” Parson said. “Ms. Guenther’s family and loved ones deserve peace. The State of Missouri will carry out McLaughlin’s sentence according to the Court’s order and deliver justice.”
McLaughlin had been in a romantic relationship with Guenther while still identifying as male; after breaking up, Guenther had become fearful for her safety after McLaughlin repeatedly showed up at her place of work, prompting her to obtain a court-issued restraining order.
On the night of November 30, 2003, Guenther went missing and investigating police discovered a broken knife and blood trail at the office she worked at. McLaughlin later admitted to raping and then stabbing Guenther to death and led authorities to where her body had been dumped near the Mississippi River in St. Louis.
McLaughlin later began transitioning to female in prison approximately three years ago.
After the execution had taken place, Governor Parson issued a statement where he deadnamed McLaughlin – literally – painting the deceased as a violent criminal who had received the justice they deserved.
“Today, the State of Missouri carried out Scott McLaughlin’s sentence as ordered by the Missouri Supreme Court,” Parson said. “McLaughlin was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2003 brutal rape and murder and of Beverly Guenther. McLaughlin terrorized Ms. Guenther in the final years of her life, but we hope her family and loved ones may finally have some peace.”