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Ventura County

Testimony Over Fatal Beating Ends

A transgender prostitute accused of killing a 78-year-old man decides not to take the stand.

March 13, 2003|Tracy Wilson | Times Staff Writer

Testimony concluded Wednesday in the trial of a transgender prostitute accused of fatally beating a 78-year-old man during an alleged sexual liaison and robbery three years ago.

James Cid, 31, who uses the name Jamie, considered taking the stand to rebut charges that he assaulted Jack Jamar and then took the retiree's wallet before leaving him in critical condition from head injuries.

On Wednesday, Cid told Superior Court Judge Roland Purnell that he was undecided about testifying and sought permission to speak with his mother during a recess. Cid returned to court and told Purnell he had decided not to testify.

Earlier in the day, defense psychologist Susan M. Lesnik testified that Cid suffers from a gender-identity disorder that may have caused the defendant to feel isolated and confused and pushed Cid toward prostitution. Lesnik told jurors that Cid, while biologically male, has spent the past decade living as a woman.

"Jamie has consistently seen himself as a female," Lesnik said. "He, she, feels herself to be a woman, acts like a woman, prior to incarceration took hormones to look like a woman."

According to testimony, Jamar picked up Cid on March 10, 2000, and drove to his Varsity Street house in Ventura.

Cid told police he hit and kicked Jamar in self-defense after the man tried to rape him. Cid could not recall taking Jamar's wallet, which was found the same day on the Ventura College campus.

Cid's mother picked him up on campus that afternoon and Cid left town with $1,200 cash, according to testimony. Police found Jamar in bed, wearing only a T-shirt and suffering severe head wounds.

He died two months later.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Friday.

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