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Hate crime: Island Nettles was beaten into a coma by a Facebook friend who only moments earlier realized she was born a man
A transgender woman in New York has died after being beaten by a group of men who attacked her and yelled gay slurs.
The victim, 21-year-old Islan Nettles, died Thursday in a Harlem hospital after being taken off life support five days following the attack.
Nettles was pronounced brain after being beaten on the street by one of her Facebook friends, 20-year-old Paris Wilson.
According to Nettles' family, the young woman had two Facebook profiles - one using her birth name Vaughn Nettles and another 'female' profile.
Wilson was friends with Nettles on her female profile.
When she ran into Wilson last Saturday near a police precinct on Eighth Avenue and 147th Street in Harlem, he started flirting with her.
But his male friends were quick to inform him that Nettles was born a man.
Angered at being embarrassed in front of his friends, Wilson started to beat up Nettles while his friends verbally harassed her.
Wilson, a rising senior at Buffalo State University, wouldn't let up on Nettles, issuing blow after blow even after she hit her head on the pavement.
Nettles' friends informed cops, but Nettles was already unconscious by the time they arrived and broke up the fight.
Growing problem: The attack happened last weekend at an intersection off of Eighth Avenue in Harlem near a police precinct. Hate crimes against the gay community in New York have seen a dramatic increase this year
'He deserves to rot': Nettles mother Delores says she hopes Paris Wilson will spend the rest of his life in prison
According to the criminal complaint, witnesses say Nettles was found passed out on the ground with a swollen shut eye and blood on her face.
After the attack, Nettles was hospitalized, slipped into a coma and later died.
The witness eventually told detectives about the anti-gay remarks- after initially leaving them out of the criminal report- and the hate crimes task force took over the investigation.
Wilson was charged on a misdemeanor assault charge, but now that Nettles has died and her death ruled a homicide, he will likely face murder charges. He was released on $2,000 bail.
Delores Nettles, the victim's mother, hopes that her daughter's killer will spend the rest of his life in jail.
'He deserves to rot because he took a life,' she told the New York Daily News.
Now, she and the rest of the victim's family are planning for Islan's funeral.
'I accepted him no matter what because I loved him at the end of the day,' she said. 'My son was a beautiful woman.'
Murdered: Nettles died at Harlem Hospital after being ruled brain dead and taken off life support. Her attacker will likely face murder charges now that her death has been ruled a homicide
The attack on Nettles was the latest in a spate of bias incidents this year in New York and a total of 68 have been reported so far this year, showing a significant increase from the 54 that were reported in all of last year.
The bias attacks this year range from yelled slurs to the May killing of a 32-year-old gay man in Greenwich Village. Police stepped up patrols this summer in response.
In May, police said Mark Carson, 32, was first taunted with homophobic slurs, then shot in the head in Greenwich Village, not far from the site of 1969 riots that helped give rise to the gay rights movement.
A suspect was arrested on a charge of murder as a hate crime. The killing, and other bias attacks, sparked a summer protest attended by thousands.
Some of the other bias incidents this summer included an assault last week where two men were attacked in Chelsea.
Christine Quinn, the city's first openly gay City Council speaker and a mayoral candidate, denounced the most recent attack.
'An attack against one person, or one community, is an assault against all New Yorkers,' she said in a joint statement with other council members.
'We ask all New Yorkers to come together, to embrace our differences and to denounce hate violence.'