Hate Crimes Prevention Act to charge someone for targeting a transgender victim, according to the Justice Department.
“Today’s sentencing reflects the importance of holding individuals accountable when they commit violent acts against transgender individuals,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.
Vallum admitted that he killed Williamson because she was transgender and because he feared reprisal from other members of the gang, which forbids homosexual relationships.
The case marked the first time that federal prosecutors have used the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.
In 2007, when he was 16, Raleigh resident Steaphan Asencio-Vazquez, aka King Lio, was convicted of armed robbery and went to state prison.