Man sentenced to life in prison for transgender wife’s death

January 25, 2020 GMT

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man pleaded guilty Thursday to killing his transgender wife and was sentenced to life in prison, prosecutors said.

Mark Steele-Knudslien, 49, of North Adams, pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court to second-degree murder, The Boston Globe reported.

Prosecutors said Steele-Knudslien killed his wife, transgender activist Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, in January 2018, in their North Adams home by stabbing her and hitting her with a hammer.

Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien was a well-known advocate in the transgender community. She helped organize the first New England Trans Pride parade in 2008 and she started a beauty pageant for transgender women in Northampton shortly after.

Leonard Howard Cohen, Steele-Knudslien’s lawyer, said his client would have faced a mandatory life term without the possibility of parole in 25 years if he didn’t accept the offer to plead guilty to the charge.

Cohen did not say whether Steele-Knudslien had expressed remorse for the killing.