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Brandon Teena Murder Trial: 1995 - The Rape And Murder, The Trials, Gender Issues

lotter nissen local falls

Defendants: John Lotter, Marvin Thomas Nissen
Crimes Charged: Murder, kidnap, rape
Chief Defense Lawyers: Lotter: Michael Fabian; Nissen: Peter Blakeslee
Chief Prosecutor: James Elworth
Judge: Robert Finn
Place: Falls City, Nebraska
Dates of Trials: Lotter: May 15-25, 1995; Nissen: February 21-March 3, 1995
Verdicts: Lotter: guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and four other charges; Nissen: guilty of first-degree murder of Brandon Teena and second-degree murder in deaths of potential witnesses Lisa Lambert and Philip DeVine; also convicted of burglary
Sentences: Lotter: death; Nissen: three consecutive life terms

SIGNIFICANCE: Brandon Teena was born a girl. Later Teena decided to change sexual identification, and began to pass as a young man by the name of Brandon Teena. Brandon concealed the fact that he was biologically a woman. When his biological identity was uncovered, two young men who had befriended him as a man forcibly raped him. After Brandon reported the rape to the local sheriff, he did not arrest the rapists. A few days later the two men tracked down Brandon to an isolated farmhouse in Humboldt, Nebraska, where they killed him and two witnesses. Since Brandon Teena had chosen a gender identity different than that he was born with, his murder drew widespread attention. In particular, the transgendered community saw him as a martyr because he chose to be different.

Although born and raised as a girl, Brandon Teena made a conscious choice to live as a man. (Hence the use of the male pronoun to describe him in this entry.) Brandon was originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, and had moved to the Falls City area to take up his life as a man, hoping for an eventual sex-change operation. As a teenager, Brandon had several scrapes with the law over stolen credit cards and forged checks. Brandon passed as a man quite readily, dating a local girl in Falls City, Lana Tisdale, and befriending Thomas Nissen and John Lotter. Brandon would wear a sock in his pants in order to appear more male. John Lotter had previously dated Lana Tisdale.

In December 1993, local police arrested Brandon on a misdemeanor check forgery charge and at that time discovered that Brandon was biologically female. The police released the information. The information was published in the local Falls City Journal. Apparently both Lotter and Nissen, unsure of their own sexual identity, became enraged that Brandon had won the affection of Lana Tisdale. Lotter and Nissen, both of whom had already served time in the state penitentiary on other charges, had been involved in a variety of unhappy relationships, drank heavily, and had floated from job to job. The issues of homophobia, sexual insecurity, and enraged bigotry against those crossing the gender line came into disastrous confluence.

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over 4 years ago

I agree with you all completely. I just watched Boys dont cry as part of my abnormal psychology class and i have come to the conclusion that i just simply dont like the fact that transsexualism is called a disorder in the first place! also another thing i noticed is that nobody refers to brandon teena as he. I have made a point to refer to him as a him, simply becuase that is what he would have wanted... don't you guys agree?

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over 3 years ago

How you guys can sit here and critisize these boys for what they did and you can't even give poor Brandon the respect HE deserves by using the right pronouns. HE was obviously not a girl, which is why this whole thing happened in the first place, and by using the wrong pronouns for trans peopple you are all contributing to their deaths by suicide from not being able to be accepted for who they are. You are no better than the murderers themselves.

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almost 4 years ago

Ive watched the show a few times and each time i watch it i wont to reach throw my tv at that so called sherif and put him behind bars he is just as guilty for brondons dealth as the other 2 monsters.brandonwould be alive along with the other 2 lifes that where lost if he would of just did hes job.tha makes me so angry he didnt arrest them when bradon reported it.those 2 monsters deserve alot worse then what there getting now.i hope there getting what they did to brandon every night they make me sick REAST IN PEACE BRANDON

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almost 5 years ago

Teena just want to live her life he way she wanted it to be...like everyone of us wanted to.But how crucial and evil they have done to someone who did'nt even tried to screw thier life. A person who wants to feel and be free. They should be stuffed to death and I guess they deserve it!

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almost 6 years ago

I agree completely with the comment below.

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about 6 years ago

I've watched the movie "Boys Don't Cry" quite a few times, and each time I see it I become enraged with the fact that this girl could still be alive if hadn't been for a red-neck, homophobic, asswipe of a so-called sheriff who saw fit to warn the losers that Brandon Teena was pressing charges against them for what they did. I don't care how mad & pissed off they were that were deceived. It still didn't give them the right to slaughter that child the way they did. Not to mention the fact they killed 2 other people who were also innocent. I feel that Lotter and Nissen should be executed without question or debate for what they did. I know that there are those who have their views about the death penalty, but in a case like this I feel that these 2 guys are more deserving of a noose around the neck or a nice stiff injection of sodium penathol, or a good high dose of 100k watts flowing through their system. But that's just me.

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over 5 years ago

Regaurdless how teena wanted to be... it shouldnt matter what her gender was.... why would cowards do something so dumb.. a precious life was taking away because of there actionsz.. so people just dont understand