A biological man convicted of raping and murdering a woman and child underwent “enormous suffering” after being denied state-provided transgender surgery prior to being executed, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is facing intense backlash for a tweet sympathizing with the killer that made no mention of his past crimes.
Following the execution of Duane Owen, one of the longest-held inmates on Florida’s death row, the ACLU published a post lamenting the anguish of the man who killed and raped a mother of two as well as a 14-year-old girl.
“The state of Florida never provided medically necessary gender-affirming care to Duane Owen — causing her enormous suffering and violating her right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment for the more than 30 years she was in state custody,” wrote the far-left non-profit which is partially funded by billionaire George Soros.
In legal papers she drafted, Owen wrote that she "should be accorded the 'essence of human dignity' and be allowed to become 'who she was meant to be'" before her death.
No one should be killed by the state. The time to end the racist, unfair and cruel death penalty is now. pic.twitter.com/EsT17NkVR1
— ACLU (@ACLU) June 16, 2023
In a follow-up tweet, the group condemned the “racist” death penalty as well as Owen’s right to become “who she (sic) was meant to be” while alive.
“In legal papers she drafted, Owen wrote that she ‘should be accorded the “essence of human dignity” and be allowed to become “who she was meant to be”’ before her death,” the post reads.
“No one should be killed by the state,” it continues. “The time to end the racist, unfair and cruel death penalty is now.”
The tweets were later hit with Twitter’s “Community Notes” fact-checking feature, which allows users to add relevant context, highlighting that Owen “murdered and raped both a 14 year old girl and a 38 year old mother.”
While Owen’s lawyers “argued insanity,” the message reads, “Psychiatrists for the state testified Owen faked schizophrenia and had no signs of gender dysphoria. His records indicate he exhibits sexual sadism.”
Owen was found guilty of two separate killings in 1984: a hammer attack on a 38-year-old mother of two and the fatal stabbing of a 14-year-old babysitter as two children in her care were asleep. Both were raped.
He also attacked two other women who survived.
“HE wanted to be housed in a women’s prison. Presumably because as a violent rapist he wanted to be around more potential victims in a captive space,” wrote Christina Pushaw, press secretary for presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis.
“Good thing we don’t do that in Florida,” she added.
HE wanted to be housed in a women’s prison. Presumably because as a violent rapist he wanted to be around more potential victims in a captive space. Good thing we don’t do that in Florida.
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) June 17, 2023
“The @aclu is run by sociopaths,” wrote writer and podcaster Meghan Murphy.
— Meghan Murphy (@MeghanEMurphy) June 17, 2023
“Y’all are evil,” wrote radio host Jason Rantz.
Y'all are evil.
— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) June 17, 2023
“The ACLU is working tirelessly to ensure that a delusional echo chamber — in which the suffering of a male serial rapist and murderer of women denied ‘medically necessary gender affirming care’ takes priority over his victims — encompasses the world and is mandated by law,” wrote essayist Wesley Yang.
The ACLU is working tirelessly to ensure that a delusional echo chamber — in which the suffering of a male serial rapist and murderer of women denied "medically necessary gender affirming care" takes priority over his victims — encompasses the world and is mandated by law https://t.co/bEQfdVmSyq
— Wesley Yang (@wesyang) June 17, 2023
“The ACLU uses their donor money to advocate for sex changes for child rapists and murderers now,” wrote comedian Tim Young.
“Shame on them and anyone who funds them,” he added.
The ACLU uses their donor money to advocate for sex changes for child rapists and murderers now.
Shame on them and anyone who funds them. https://t.co/zaSeNWDLH6
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) June 17, 2023
“The ACLU is upset because the state of Florida executed Duane Owen without ever providing ‘her’ with ‘medically-necessary’ sex change treatments,” wrote Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk. “Duane Owen raped and murdered two people, including a child.”
The ACLU is upset because the state of Florida executed Duane Owen without ever providing "her" with "medically-necessary" sex change treatments.
Duane Owen raped and murdered two people, including a child. https://t.co/p9DFFB4sal
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) June 17, 2023
“A certain group of loud, obnoxious and sexually deviant activists are more upset about the execution of Duane Owen than they are about what he did to Karen Slattery. Let that sink in,” wrote conservative journalist Ian Miles Cheong.
A certain group of loud, obnoxious and sexually deviant activists are more upset about the execution of Duane Owen than they are about what he did to Karen Slattery. Let that sink in.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) June 17, 2023
Even some liberals slammed the tweet.
“Wtf has happened to the @ACLU?” wrote “The Heretical Liberal.”
“What does being transgender have anything to do with being held accountable for murdering someone? I don’t think murderers should have any fucking rights,” wrote liberal writer David Weissman.
“I’m as liberal as you can get but this ain’t it ACLU,” wrote one Twitter user.
Many also hailed the social media platform’s “Community Notes” system that informed readers of the relevant details omitted from the tweet.
“Perhaps the most devastating community note ever,” wrote political commentator Paul Joseph Watson.
Perhaps the most devastating community note ever. https://t.co/rnAzQf2OB0
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) June 17, 2023
“The absolute shamelessness of Communists. Read the community note,” wrote author and conservative commentator Dr. James Lindsay.
Last month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Owen’s death warrant, and last week, the state’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of his execution.
In a filing Monday, his lawyers had argued that he “lacks a rational understanding of the connection between his crime and impending execution due to his fixed psychotic delusions and dementia,” claiming the move would violate the Eighth Amendment forbidding cruel and unusual punishment.
On Tuesday, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a motion requesting the Supreme Court reject further inmate appeals so the state can move forward with his execution, which took place on Thursday.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.