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Transgender murder trial moved from Mt. Pleasant over civil rights concerns

District Judge Mary Ann Brown said Thursday she's changing the venue for Jorge Sanders-Galvez as a "proactive step" to confront implicit racial bias. (KTVO file)

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) -- The trial for one of two men charged with killing a gender non-conforming teenager will be moved from Mount Pleasant to Keokuk.

District Judge Mary Ann Brown said Thursday she's changing the venue for Jorge Sanders-Galvez as a "proactive step" to confront implicit racial bias.

Brown says data indicates that South Lee County will likely produce a more diverse jury pool than Henry County.

Sanders-Galvez is set to stand trial Tuesday in the March 2016 slaying of Burlington High School student Kedarie Johnson, who alternated between male and female personas. Another man is also charged but will stand trial separately.

Sanders-Galvez is Latino and black. His defense asked to move the trial out of Henry County, where only 11 out of 2,100 potential jurors in the last four years identified as either race.


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