Justice Department Files Statement of Interest in Religious Land Use Case Involving Orthodox Jewish Congregation
A five-count federal indictment was unsealed charging two South Carolina men with hate crime and obstruction offenses.
The indictment charges Daqua Ritter, 26, with a hate crime for the murder of a transgender woman because of her gender identity; using a firearm in connection with the hate crime; and obstruction of justice. The indictment also charges Xavier Pinckney, 24, with two obstruction offenses for providing false and misleading statements to authorities investigating the murder of the victim, Dime Doe.
The indictment alleges that on Aug. 4, 2019, Ritter shot Dime Doe, a transgender woman, because of Dime Doe’s actual and perceived gender identity. The indictment further charges Ritter with misleading state investigators about his whereabouts the day of the murder. The indictment also alleges that Pinckney concealed from state investigators the use of his phone to call and text Dime Doe the day of the murder and lied to state and federal investigators about seeing Ritter after the morning of the murder.
The hate crime count against Ritter carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The counts charging Ritter and Pinckney with obstruction of justice carry a maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment. The count charging Pinckney with lying to federal investigators carries a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment.
The FBI’s Columbia Field Office investigated the case, with the assistance of South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brook Andrews, Ben Garner and Elle Klein for the District of South Carolina and Trial Attorney Andrew Manns of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an accusation. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.