DC forms bias crime partnership with prosecutors, LGBT community

JaParker Jones, 23, was stabbed at a bus stop and died later at a hospital. (Photo: courtesy of the family)

WASHINGTON (AP) - District of Columbia officials are announcing a partnership between prosecutors, the mayor's office and the gay, lesbian and transgender community.

The goal of the partnership, announced Saturday by Mayor Vincent Gray, is to seek stronger punishments for people convicted in bias- or hate crimes.

As part of the arrangement, the mayor's office of GLBT Affairs will solicit so-called impact statements from community members in criminal cases that were motivated by the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity. The statements are intended to factor into a judge's sentencing decision.

The announcement was made at a memorial service for Deoni Jones, a transgender woman fatally stabbed to death last year.