Tymesha Wearing, 36, pleaded guilty to Aggravated Assault and Conspiracy for her role in a violent attack on Kendall Stephens in South Philly’s Point Breeze neighborhood. Wearing was also convicted of Hate Crimes, which in Philadelphia is a summary offense because state law does not protect LGBTQ+ people from bias crimes.
Wearing was sentenced on Feb. 7 by Common Pleas Court Judge Nicholas Kamau to 11.5 to 23 months of house arrest with electronic monitoring. She will have no parole eligibility until 18 months of home confinement and until her 120 hours of community service are fulfilled. She will also be responsible for a letter of apology to Stephens and completion of a court-monitored anger management program.
“Nearly three years ago, Kendall Stephens endured a frightening crime that was intended to demean and silence her,” District Attorney Larry Krasner said. “Instead, Ms. Stephens continues to speak out loudly on behalf of other queer victims of violent crime – all while pursuing graduate studies. This criminal case is now closed, but Ms. Stephens will never stop fighting for the respect, support and protections that queer people deserve in order to live safely, freely and joyfully.”
According to testimony, Wearing, without provocation, punched Stephens in the mouth outside of her home. Wearing and two other individuals then pushed their way into Stephens’ house, all while continuing to punch her and strike her head. Wearing bore Stephens to the ground, at which point the defendant said, “You are a man, you deserve this.” The other attackers allegedly shouted anti-trans slurs during the assault. Another assailant is alleged to have forced her way into the house and hit Stephens twice in the head with a wooden planter.
Stephens suffered injuries including two necrotic teeth, a concussion, a broken nose, a swollen face and bruised ribs as a result of the attack.
Wearing is the only one of the assailants who has been charged in the beating. The others involved have not been identified or arrested, police said.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Brian Kean of the Major Trials Unit. According to the DA’s Office, Stephens read out a victim impact statement during a court proceeding in the presence of Wearing.
“I want to start by saying you are my sister and neighbor, and I forgive you. I’m still hurt because of your actions after the fact and how this matter played out in the court of common opinion years before we arrived at this conclusion in a court of law,” Stephens read. “I’ve been in spiritual, emotional and cognitive purgatory ever since. People took sides. She said things such as, ‘Trans people don’t exist, so her story and her pain don’t exist.’ I could never truly claim a sense of survivorship because I could never exercise my right to be a victim of a hate crime.
“Although Philadelphia County recognizes what happened to me as a hate crime, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s hate crime statute doesn’t recognize me as a person worthy of protection because I’m transgender, I am an unworthy minority in the eyes of the law, and that needs to change, or the cycle of hate will continue.
“I hope this is a wake-up call to everyone involved, especially our state lawmakers. This season of hell is over. Now I hope that I finally begin a season of healing that is long past overdue, and I wish that for you as well, Ms. Wearing.”