On July 23, 2016 Dwayna Hickerson was captured on surveillance video entering a Mississippi Best Western Hotel at about 8:30PM with Dee Whigham. Twenty-three minutes later he was seen leaving the hotel alone and according to prosecutors Hickerson, a sailor who was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base for training, went into a blind fury once he learned the 25-year-old was a transgender woman, and stabbed her 119 times.
According to an autopsy report Whigham’s stab wounds were mostly to the face, and her neck was slashed three times. While appearing in court last week, Hickerson told a judge he was guilty of his crime and said he lost his mind.
Whigham’s friends called 911 after finding her body at 9:45 pm. Hickerson was arrested on base two days later after the sheriff’s department released the surveillance video and an instructor notified authorities. To avoid the death penalty, Hickerson pled guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison with no possibility of parole, and then sentenced to 15 years for a robbery charge, both sentences are too be served consecutively.
Whighman’s sister and mother were both distraught in the courtroom while speaking to Hickerson but didn’t show rage. “I didn’t approve of his lifestyle,” Denisha Whigham said about her brother. So, I can understand what you say happened, happened. I can understand your anger,” she told Hickerson. “But, I miss my brother.”