CeCe McDonald, a Minnesota transgender woman who was sentenced to 41 months in a men’s prison for fatally stabbing a man who attacked her during a hate crime, was released Monday, a Minnesota prison official confirmed with BuzzFeed.
McDonald will continue to be under the supervision of the Minnesota Department of Corrections until the completion of her 41-month sentence, according to Michael Friedman, executive director of the Legal Rights Center, which represented McDonald in court last year.
She was released from the Minnesota Correctional Facility–St. Cloud around 8:30 a.m. CT, an official at the prison said.
McDonald, who identifies as female, was sentenced to 41 months in a men’s prison facility last spring for the stabbing death of Dean Schmitz. McDonald and a group of friends were walking near a grocery story late on the night of June 5, 2011, when they were allegedly accosted by a group of people shouting racist and transphobic comments at them. According to McDonald’s testimony, a fight broke out in which a bottle was smashed on her face and, ultimately, she stabbed Schmitz with scissors in what she said was an act of self-defense.
She was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and in May 2012, accepted a plea bargain with reduced charges of second-degree manslaughter. Throughout the case, supporters around the world rallied behind McDonald, calling her incarceration unjust and her placement in a men’s facility discriminatory.
McDonald plans to issue a public statement concerning her release, and has asked her supporters to allow her to spend her first days “in privacy with people she feels close to,” according to her blog.