Transgender woman pleads guilty to sex crime that may have set off hatchet attack
CHARLOTTE, NC (Michael Gordon/The Charlotte Observer) - A transgender woman, who claimed last year to have been the victim of an unprovoked hatchet attack in a Charlotte park, pleaded guilty Monday to a sex offense against a 15-year-old boy who later attacked her.
Ralayzia Taylor, also known as Derrick Horton, pleaded guilty Monday to a crime against nature and was sentenced to four to 14 months in prison. That sentence was suspended if Taylor successfully completes three years of supervised probation.
According to the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office, requirements will include undergoing a sexual-offender assessment and completing the recommendations; avoiding locations where juveniles will be present, including parks, playgrounds and schoolyards; not being alone with a child under 16; and not having sex with anyone under 18.
Taylor's attorney, Melissa Owen of Charlotte, said the sentence "confirms that Ms. Horton is not a sex offender and should not be subject to any jail sentence."
"To the contrary, she is a kind, gentle and responsible person who has been traumatized physically and emotionally," Owen said Monday.
Taylor's case drew national attention when she reported being chased, stomped, beaten and assaulted with a hatchet last November in Clanton Park. Three teens, including a 15-year-old juvenile, were charged with attempted murder.
One of the defendants, Destiny Dagraca, later told the Observer that her 15-year-old brother attacked Taylor with the hatchet.
The story took a dramatic turn three days later when Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police charged Taylor with two felonies related to an alleged sexual assault of the juvenile, which occurred in the park before the attack.
One of the charges, statutory sex offense with a child 15 or younger, carried a maximum sentence of more than 30 years in prison. Both felonies were dropped in return for Taylor's guilty plea.
Dagraca pleaded guilty in March to being an accessory to an assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. She was sentenced to 14-26 months in prison. A judge gave her credit for the 93 days she had been jailed and suspended the rest of the incarceration pending her completion of a 30-month probation.
Her boyfriend, Dajion Tanner, is scheduled to be in court Thursday. Sources have told the Observer that he has been offered a similar plea deal as Dagraca.
According to jail records, Tanner has been arrested at least five times and was serving two years' probation from a July 16 conviction for common law robbery at the time of his arrest in the attack on Taylor.
Details of the juvenile's case are sealed under state law.