Edmonds Tennent Brown IV, a man who identifies as a woman named Katheryn Brown, is seeking state-funded hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery (“SRS”) while serving a life sentence without parole in a South Carolina prison for the rape and murder of Mary Lynn Witherspoon.
Brown stalked Witherspoon for years, finally breaking into her home in 2003 to steal a pair of her underwear. Upon his release from prison later that year, he bound, raped, and strangled Witherspoon, resulting in her death. When he was arrested, he was found wearing a pair of Witherspoon’s slacks and underwear, and had purchased a pair of foam breasts and “women’s clothing” using Witherspoon’s credit card. He had also changed the address on his driver’s license to her residence. Although Brown pled guilty, he now claims he did so “under duress during an emotionally difficult time…likened to PMS.”
Brown recently wrote, “If I had not been such an emotional basketcase I would have pled ‘not guilty’ and taken my chances with a jury trial.” He also claims his public defender “resist(ed) her efforts to dress as a woman and reveal her gender identity issues in court” and wrote, “If I had been able to dress the way that I would have felt more confident, I would have been dressed in a cream-colored Chanel skirt-suit with a pair of 4½-inch spike heel Jimmy Choos and make-up.” Instead, he wore a bright yellow polo and khakis at his sentencing. Although the state will provide hormone therapy to inmates who have already been receiving it, it will not approve new treatments or provide SRS to inmates in state prisons. Meanwhile, a senator is pushing a bill that would prohibit the use of state funds to provide inmates SRS or hormonal therapy.