Minneapolis transgender woman released from prison


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.

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