How the 2002 Murder of Transgender Teen Gwen Araujo Happened in Chronological Order

Gwen Araujo’s murder in 2002 sparked a transgender rights movement. The transgender teen from San Francisco was attacked, beaten, and strangled to death.

Feb. 24, 1985

Gwen Araujo is the daughter of Sylvia Guerrero and Edward Araujo.Her family calls her Eddie since she was born with male genitalia.

July 4, 1999

Eddie, 14, says he’s a female stuck in a boy’s body. Eddie transitioned into a woman and named herself Gwen after Gwen Stefani.

Late Summer 2002

Araujo’s third year as a woman, she started hanging out with guys. Michael Magidson, José Merél, Jason Cazares, and Jaron Nabors are all 22.

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Michael Magidson and José Merél knew Araujo as Lida, according to court evidence. Because Araujo wouldn’t allow them to touch her genitalia, the guys suspected she wasn’t female.

Oct. 3, 2002

Araujo attended a party at José Merél’s residence with Manny and Paul, who had also slept with Gwen. Nicole Brown, Paul Merél’s girlfriend, was also there.

Early on Oct. 4, the guys questioned Araujo about her gender.

Brown displayed her male genitalia to Araujo during a restroom dispute. Magidson hit Araujo in their wrath. José Merél sobbed after having sex with Araujo and hit her with a frying pan and a can.

Later, Manny said he attempted to get Araujo out of the house but was prevented. Nicole Brown, Paul Merél, and Emmanual Merél fled the home while Araujo bled.

Magidson, according to Nabors, roped Araujo.Magidson, José Merél, Cazares, and Nabors travelled four hours to purchase Araujo’s corpse in El Dorado National Forest.

Oct. 5, 2002

Araujo’s parents reported her missing.

Oct. 9, 2002

Araujo’s family hears reports about the encounter and informs police, who ask Nabors’ buddy to wear a wire to record him talking about the murder.

Police interview Nabors, Magidson, and Merél.

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Nabors showed police where he buried Araujo on Oct. 15, 2002.The coroner stated Araujo died of strangulation and head trauma.

October 18, 2002

On October 18, 2002, Magidson, José Merél, and Nabors were arraigned for Araujo’s murder.

Oct. 25, 2002

Araujo’s funeral is at St. Edward’s in Newark. Mom released 17 butterflies in her honour. His ashes are incinerated.

Police arrested Jason Cazares, a fourth suspect in Araujo’s murder, on Nov. 16.

Feb. 24, 2003

Jaron Nabors accepts an 11-year prison sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter.

Oct. 3, 2003

One year after Araujo’s death, her mother gets a Horizons Foundation scholarship to speak at local schools about transgender people. Sylvia Guerrero has struggled since Araujo died. She has PTSD and lost her job.

March 15, 2004

The Gwen Araujo murder trial begins in Hayward. During the trial, Jason Cazares’ attorney, Tony Serra, attacked Jaron Nabors’ credibility, accusing him of being the main aggressor and blaming his buddies for the murder.

May 24, 2004

The defence claims Araujo misled the defendants into having sex. A defence psychologist tells the jury that a young guy is likely to panic and respond with violence if he finds out a lady he was sexually acquainted with is male.

22 June 2004

Because the jury is unable to reach a guilty verdict, the judge declares a mistrial.7–5 voted to convict Magidson of first-degree murder. and ruled 10-2 to clear José Merél and Jason Cazares. Activists call the judgement a setback for transgender rights.
Deputy District Attorney Chris Lamiero wants a retrial.

June 23, 2004

The day after the mistrial, a court grants Gwen Araujo’s mother’s request to legally change her name.Sylvia Guerrero wants her daughter to be called Gwen during the retrial.

June 24, 2004

Sylvia Guerrero spoke during the inaugural Trans March in San Francisco on Pride Friday. 3,000 people marched from Dolores Park to the Civic Center for a rally.

The second trial jury selection starts May 9, 2005. A judge issued a gag order prohibiting lawyers from speaking to the media.José Merél admitted to being sexually virgin at the time of the murder.

Merél wouldn’t explain how Araujo died to the prosecutor. Magidson said that he had oral sex with Araujo the night she died.

Sept. 12, 2005

A jury convicts Michael Magidson and José Merél of second-degree murder. Nobody was convicted of a hate crime. 9-3 also convicted Jason Cazares.

Later that evening at the LGBT Center in San Francisco, advocates grieved that the men weren’t convicted of first-degree murder but considered the conviction a tremendous win for transgender rights.

On Jan. 27, 2006

Michael Magidson and José Merél were sentenced to 15 years to life for murdering Gwen Araujo.

Jason Cazares avoided a third trial by accepting a six-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter. Nabors was sentenced to 11 years in jail. At the sentence’s end, Merél apologised to Araujo’s family, while Magidson did not.

Sept. 28, 2006

Arnold Schwarzenegger signs the Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act on Sept. 28. Jurors must be told they can’t make choices based on a victim’s gender or sexual orientation.

Sept. 29, 2014

California is the first state to outlaw a “trans panic” defense. The bill, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, specifies that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity cannot be used to excuse an attack.

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