A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for murdering a transgender woman in her Chicago home three years ago.
Orlando Perez pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on Thursday, court records show. Judge Nicholas Kantas handed down the sentence. Multiple counts of first-degree murder, armed robbery, home invasion, and burglary were dropped by prosecutors in their plea deal with Perez.
Perez Became Upset After Learning Reyes-Hernandez was Trans
He was still a student at Bogan High School when he went to Selena Reyes-Hernandez's home in the 3300 block of West 71st Street on May 31, 2020.
The city was being ripped apart by widespread looting and riots in response to the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer that weekend, which would go down as the bloodiest weekend in Chicago in a generation.
After hanging out at her apartment, Perez asked Reyes-Hernandez, 37, if she was a woman. He became upset and left upon learning that she was trans.
Perez Returned to Reyes-Hernandez's House and Killed Her Because 'He Kept Seeing Her Face'
Prosecutors said Perez remained enraged by the discovery and returned to Reyes-Hernandez's home a short time later with his face covered. Officials said surveillance video showed Perez handling a firearm as he neared her home.
Finding her apartment door open, he went inside and shot Reyes-Hernandez in the head, then fled the scene, prosecutors alleged. During Perez's initial bail hearing, a prosecutor said Perez "kept seeing her face" and it made him "mad as hell," so he returned to her apartment and fired more shots into her body as she was on the floor.
Chicago police said they found a video on Reyes-Hernandez's phone that showed Perez washing his hands in her apartment before the murder.