Former Navy sailor Dwanya Hickerson pleaded guilty to second degree murder and robbery on Thursday, less than a month before he was to go trial for the stabbing death of 25-year-old Dee Whigham, a transgender woman Hickerson met for a sexual encounter on July 23, 2016.
Hickerson told the court that he and Whigham had been communicating online for months before they finally met that night, when she was in the area with friends. She picked him up at Keesler Air Force Base, where he was studying to be a weather forecaster, and the two of them went to a Best Western Hotel. It wasn’t until after they engaged in sexual activity that Whigham told Hickerson that she was transgender, born male.
“I lost it. I lost my mind,” Hickerson said.
After learning this information, Hickerson grabbed a knife and stabbed Whigham 119 times. He claims he doesn’t remember much of what happened.
Hickerson received a sentence of 40 years in prison for murder, plus 15 years for robbery, to run consecutively, instead of at the same time. For Whigham’s mother, however, it’s not enough.
“I think the plea is a slap in the face,: Vickie Blackney Whigham, said Thursday, as The Sun Herald reported. “He gets a chance to see his family and I don’t have that chance with my child.”
Hickerson addressed the Whighams in court. “I apologize to the family,” he said. “I really, really wish it had turned out differently. If I could take it back, I would.” His mother, Kimberly Markin, also said, “My son never set out that day to murder someone,” adding, “I am sorry any of this happened to both families.”