Edmonds Tennent Brown was convicted in 2007 for the 2003 strangulation of a popular teacher in an affluent Charleston, South Carolina, neighborhood. Now he’s calling himself “Katheryn,” and is demanding the state pay for his sex change operations.
Brown, 44, was convicted of murdering Mary Lynn Witherspoon, 53, in a brutal crime that made national news. The murderer now says there was an underlying reason for his conviction: he is a woman trapped in a man’s body.
Brown insisted his “outward appearance does not match or correspond” with his “inner self,” in a series of letters made public by The Post and Courier of Charleston. “As a female I would be complete and a productive member of society because I would actually be comfortable in my own skin,” the convict added.
“If I had not been such an emotional basketcase I would have pled ‘not guilty’ and taken my chances with a jury trial,” Brown wrote. “If I had been able to dress the way that I would have felt more confident, I would have been dressed in a cream-colored Chanel skirt-suit with a pair of 4½-inch spike heel Jimmy Choos and make-up.”
Brown has repeatedly petitioned the Department of Corrections to schedule and pay for the sex change, but so far has been denied the service. Now he’s reaching out to the media to drum up support for his quest.
Currently South Carolina only pays for continued hormone therapy for sex changes if an inmate enters the prison system having already started the therapy. The state does not pay for new procedures initiated after incarceration. Further a Senator in the state is trying to push through a bill that would specifically outlaw the use of state money to fund sex change operations in prisons to get ahead of Brown’s grievance process.
Before Witherspoon was murdered, Brown was arrested for stalking her and was found to have a long list of mental disorders including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and gender dysphoria. Despite the diagnosis showing how dangerous he was, Brown was let out of jail. The victim was supposed to have been alerted when her tormentor had been freed but she was never told. Not long after, Brown entered the woman’s home and raped her, then murdered her leaving her lifeless body submerged in a tub full of water.
The convict now claims he has no memory of committing the crime and had only gone to the victim’s house to “confront her” about rumors that she was moving to France. “I don’t know who would want to hurt he,” he now insists.
Prosecutors, though, have noted there was an ample amount of DNA and forensics evidence pointing to Brown as the woman’s killer
Despite the proof and the jury decision convicting him, Brown claims he is undergoing emotional distress in the body of a male. “I wish I could put into words the emotions that I am feeling always being uncomfortable in this body,” Brown told the paper. “Not being able to have my outside appearance match what I feel like on the inside.”
Few states, though, allow for tax dollars to pay for sex change operations. It was only last year when California became the first state to pay for an inmates’ sex change on the basis of “medical necessity.”
According to estimates, only about 1 in 350 Americans change their name from one sex to the opposite sex.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com