A jury found a former Fort Bliss solider guilty in the murder of a transgender woman in 2016.
Anthony Michael Bowden was on trial for the slaying of Erykah Tijerina. He stabbed her 24 times in August 2016.
Thursday started with closing arguments where defense attorney’s claimed Bowden was acting in self-defense after being sexually assaulted.
Defense attorney’s stated that Tijerina was HIV positive and was attempting to sexually assault Bowden, making that aggravated sexual assault with a weapon, prompting him to act in self-defense.
“Michael (Bowden) never had a chance against Eric,” said Rene Flores, defense attorney. “Make no mistake Eric was a predator.”
The defense called the victim Eric instead of Erykah, but stated the trial was not about civil rights.
“Eric’s gender and sexual identity are irrelevant. This is about Eric’s actions,” said William Ahee, defense attorney.
Prosecutors disagreed with the sexual assault claims but did admit some wrongdoing on Bowden’s part.
Assistant District Attorney Denise Butterworth admitted that Tijerina was a sex worker who had a reputation to blackmail her clients, which is what she allegedly threatened to do to Bowden.
“Is it right? Probably not but Erica is living in a day and age where she could prove it,” she said. “So what was Erica’s consequence? She died for it. She got the death penalty for it. And not a fair one for her crime. …”
“Erica was butchered to death with a chisel,” Butterworth added.
The defense also argued Bowden had every right to use deadly force as self-defense, while the prosecution argued that the killing was pre-meditated and Bowden faced not threat but instead was a willing participant in the exchange.
Sentencing is scheduled to begin Friday at 8:30 a.m.