Skip to main content

Minneapolis transgender woman released from prison

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A high-profile Minneapolis transgender woman who spent about 19 months in prison for the killing of a man who she said had picked a fight with her has been been released from a St. Cloud correctional facility.

CeCe McDonald had been sentenced to 41 months but was released Monday, a Department of Correction document says.

McDonald's case galvanized LGBT community members who have faced harassment and hostility, Michael Friedman, directer of the Legal Rights Center in St. Paul, which represented McDonald, told MPR News.

McDonald's story is to be chronicled in a documentary called "Free CeCe" produced by Laverne Cox, a transgender actress in the Neflix series "Orange is the New Black." (More about the project here.)

Cox has been a vocal opponent of McDonald's imprisonment and was there to meet McDonald Sunday when she was released, Huffington Post reports.

McDonald was sentenced in 2012 for the stabbing death of Dean Schmitz. McDonald had said a group of friends had been walking near a Minneapolis bar late at night in June 2011 when another group shouted racist and homophobic comments. TruTV examined the details of the case further in June 2013.

McDonald had initially denied the stabbing, but later testified that she was assaulted and that she stabbed Schmitz with scissors in self-defense. McDonald took a deal that allowed her to be convicted of manslaughter and not murder, but her advocates maintained she had been the victim.

A video posted to YouTube captures a moment of McDonald's release.

Next Up

Amber alert wisconsin

Amber Alert in Wisconsin: Search for missing 15-year-old girl

Police believe 15-year-old Kryssy King may be with a 22-year-old man.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 10.18.12 AM

3 St. Paul fast food restaurants robbed in space of an hour

The thieves struck between 7:15 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 9.06.40 AM

What to do with the Kmart site? Minneapolis wants your ideas

The project will connect Nicollet Avenue south of Lake street and north of the Midtown Greenway, reestablishing a street grid.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 7.53.55 AM

Crowd evacuated at end of homecoming football game in Brooklyn Park

Police blamed 'unruly teens' in the stands and some who were trying to enter the stadium.


State to help 44 Minnesota gas stations add E15 pumps

The yellow 88 button is coming to more gas stations in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 4.54.42 PM

FBI, police investigating bank robbery at Edina's 50th and France

An ATM technician was robbed by four men at a U.S. Bank.

Ethan Glynn

Paralyzed Bloomington football player begins rehabilitation in Colorado

Ethan Glynn is at a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital.

Press Bar fire

Owner of St. Cloud bar gets 6 years for arson, ordered to repay $3M

A February 2020 fire at the Press Bar and Parlor was later determined to be an insurance job.


Bloomington, Richfield districts tighten security ahead of weekend football

Enhanced safety measures will be in place this weekend.