State District Judge Hector Garza sentenced defense attorney Andrew W. Wilkerson to 15 days and a $500 fine for criminal contempt of court for “continued outbursts” in which he misgendered and deadnamed Muhlaysia Booker.
The Dallas Morning News Dana Branham reports from the courtroom “The defense has repeatedly referred to Booker, a transgender woman, as a man. They refuse to call her Muhlaysia and instead refer to her only by her birth name and use male pronouns for her.”
Wilkerson was granted a personal recognizance bond of $500 in lieu of his contempt punishment, according to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department. He was back in the courtroom and representing Thomas on Friday after bonding out of jail about 2 a.m.
Before the trial began Judge Hector Garza denied a defense request to deadname and misgender Muhlaysia Booker and placed a gag order on the defense for transphobic Facebook postings.
Edward Thomas is charged with assault with a deadly weapon (his fists) and could receive up to 20 years if found guilty. His defense is trying to assert that Booker is a man and asked for the fight. If the Judge rules in favor of the defense the assault could be ruled a misdemeanor and Thomas could conceivably be released with time served.
The trial resumes on Monday.
Advocates from around Texas gathered before the trial to address this case, one of four murdered Dallas trans women of color this year. They also called on Dallas Law Enforcement to do their jobs following the release and subsequent escape of Domingo Ramirez-Cavente, a Mexican national who had confessed to shooting 35-year-old transgender woman Daniela Calderon six times.