LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After nearly six hours of deliberation, a jury found Henry Gleaves not guilty of murder in the death of Sherman Edwards on Thursday.
He was, however, found guilty of manslaughter and tampering with evidence late Thursday evening. He was sentenced to seven years in jail.
"We respect the juries verdict," prosecuting attorney John Balenovich said. "We were disappointed they did not come back with murder."
WDRB asked lead defense attorney Rob Eggert if he felt the verdict could have gone either way.
"I would not want to speculate, just happy it's over," Eggert said.
There was no doubt that Henry Gleaves shot Sherman Edwards. The question was whether it was self-defense or a hate crime.
Gleaves was accused of murdering Sherman Edwards on Jan. 9, 2015 at the Fern Valley Hotel.
Gleaves said he paid Edwards for a sexual act thinking Edwards was a female, only to find out Edwards was a biological male.
Chris Hartman with Fairness Campaign sat in on the case, Hartman called for justice in this crime against a transgender person.
"I'm at a loss, our people can't keep dying, our people can't keep being murdered just because of who they are," said Hartman.
In his closing argument, defense attorney Rob Eggert told the jury Gleaves shot Edwards because Edwards and three others in the room had attacked and robbed him, not because Edwards was transgender.
“If this was a hate crime, I wouldn’t be standing up for this man. But this case has nothing to do with bias. It’s got nothing to do with prejudice. It’s got nothing to do with a hate crime, ladies and gentlemen,” Eggert said.
“This case is about prostitution. It’s about robbery. It’s about assault. This is what this case is about.”
But prosecutors said there was no evidence of a robbery or an assault.
They said Gleaves’ motive was revenge. They argued that he was angry when he discovered Sherman was not a biological female.
“All that's left is that it's murder, plain and simple. He chose to kill Sherman Edwards because he was humiliated, and he got his money taken,” prosecutor John Balenovich said.
The jury received case around 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
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