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Wednesday, May 02, 2012  RssIcon

Chrishaun “Ce Ce” McDonald pleaded guilty to second degree manslaughter Wednesday and is expected to be sentenced to 41 months in prison for fatally stabbing Dean Schmitz.

The plea agreement occurred just before attorneys for both sides were to choose the final two jurors and two alternatives. McDonald had been facing at least 150 months in prison if she was convicted on the second-degree murder charge with which she was charged.

“What makes it tragic is one man is dead and another person will spend 41 months in jail,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.

McDonald, a 23-year-old transgender African-American woman, was walking with a group of friends about midnight when a group standing outside the Schooner Bar in South Minneapolis, began shouting racial and sexual insults. McDonald and her friends confronted Schmitz and his friends and a woman smashed a glass into McDonald’s face, cutting her.

A witness saw Schmitz pull McDonald away from the resulting melee and then say, “you stabbed me,” and McDonald said she did. McDonald walked away toward the Cub Foods parking lot and threw away the scissors she was carrying.

In the hearing before Hennepin County District Court Judge Daniel Moreno Wednesday, McDonald said she was giving up the right to use a defense that her stabbing of Schmitz was either an accident or in self-defense. She also acknowledged that she saw that Schmitz did not have a weapon of any kind and McDonald admitted she handled the scissors in an unreasonable way.

Judge Moreno asked McDonald how the scissors wound up in Schmitz’s chest and she said that he pulled her towards himself.

McDonald also no longer claims, as she had in some prior statements, that someone else stabbed Schmitz.

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office has received some criticism from the LGBTQ community regarding this case. The role of prosecutors is to examine the facts provided by police investigators and determine if there is sufficient admissible evidence to bring a charge. Gender, race, sexual orientation and class are not part of the decision-making process. The charges filed took into account the evidence in this case; this outcome is an example of the criminal justice responding proportionately to a tragic situation. The plea of second degree manslaughter is a just resolution.

She will be sentenced June 4.

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