CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In some cases, labeling victims isn’t quite cut and dry. The incident that occurred in a local park last November is one of these cases. Ralayzia Taylor, a transgender woman, first reported to police that she had been targeted in a hate crime by three teenagers wielding a hatchet. The investigation revealed that Taylor had engaged in sex acts with one of the attackers prior to the assault. All four people involved face criminal charges.
Taylor, under her legal name, Derrick Horton, was initially charged with two felonies: statutory sex offense and indecent liberties with a child. According to police, Taylor performed oral sex on a 15-year-old boy who later joined his sister and her boyfriend in attacking Taylor with a hatchet. She was cut and stabbed in several places, but her injuries were not life-threatening.
After Taylor’s arraignment was postponed from May to July, her legal team negotiated a plea deal. Taylor pleaded guilty to one count of crime against nature, and was instructed to complete three years of supervised probation to avoid being incarcerated for four to 14 months in prison.
“She is a kind, gentle and responsible person who has been traumatized physically and emotionally,” defense attorney Melissa Owen said, adding that the sentencing “confirms that Ms. Horton [Taylor] is not a sex offender and should not be subject to any jail sentence.”
Though the identity of the 15-year-old has not been published, 18-year-old co-defendant Destiny Degraca told the Charlotte Observer that he was her brother, and initiated the attack. Degraca pleaded guilty to being an accessory to an assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and was sentenced to 14-26 months in prison, reduced to time served and a 30-month probation.
The other defendant, Degraca’s 18-year-old boyfriend, Dajion Tanner, has been arrested at least five times, according to jail records. At the time of the assault, Tanner was serving two years’ probation for common law robbery. His court date is set for Aug. 3.