A judge this week found a man who brutally attacked a local transgender woman guilty of several charges, including attempted murder.
Judge Susan I. Schulman on Monday found Marcus Jones guilty of four counts in connection with the May 2015 attack on 53-year-old Michelle Hill.
Jones, 24, attacked Hill in the 900 block of North Watts Street. During the trial, which was held before Schulman and was not a jury trial, Jones’ defense attorney raised the “trans-panic” defense as a motive.
“I think when you look at the facts of the case, this was an attack on a trans woman because she was trans,” said Assistant District Attorney Sam Haaz, who prosecuted the case. “That’s certainly something that is completely unacceptable and that this office takes incredibly seriously.”
Jones was found guilty of attempted murder, aggravated assault, robbery and theft. The judge dismissed simple assault, receiving stolen property and reckless endangerment charges.
Jones will be sentenced Aug. 21 in Courtroom 901 of the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert St. He is eligible for up to 60 years in prison.
“I’m going to seek input from [Hill’s] family and from other members of the office to determine what we’re going to ask for,” he said about the sentence.
Hill suffered spinal fractures and a broken nose and was in a coma for three weeks after the attack. She left Hahnemann University Hospital about a month after she was admitted and was transferred to a rehab center; at the time she had no use of her arms or legs.
Hill remains in an in-patient facility and has not regained use of her legs. Her sister reports the incident also impacted her mental development, Haaz said.
A family member of Hill testified at the trial about the extent of her injuries and her ongoing recovery.
“Hopefully, this verdict provides Michelle and other members of the community some small level of closure,” Haaz said. “I hope she can begin to heal a little bit more with this verdict.”