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Washington man convicted of hate crime in transgender teen’s murder

<i>KPTV</i><br/>The family of murdered teenager Nikki Kuhnhausen spoke during a vigil in December of 2019.
The family of murdered teenager Nikki Kuhnhausen spoke during a vigil in December of 2019.

By Kelly Murray, CNN

A Washington state man was found guilty Friday in the death of a transgender teenager, Nikki Kuhnhausen.

David Bogdanov, 27, was convicted of second-degree murder and malicious harassment, according to Clark County Superior Court records.

Malicious harassment is Washington state’s hate crime statute.

Prosecutors say when Bogdanov found out Nikki was biologically male, he became enraged and killed her.

The 17-year-old had gone missing in June 2019, and six months later, her remains were found in a heavily wooded area of Larch Mountain near Vancouver, Washington.

Social media and phone records led police to Bogdanov, who had been messaging with Nikki on Snapchat the day of her disappearance.

Bogdanov testified in his own defense Tuesday, admitting he killed her but saying that he did it in self-defense, a claim prosecutors refuted, CNN affiliate KATU reported.

At the time of Bogdanov’s arrest, Vancouver police Lt. Tom Ryan told reporters that the man had picked up the victim in a van and taken her to a residence.

That’s where the teen confirmed she was biologically male, and Bogdanov gave a statement “saying that made him really, really uncomfortable and disturbed him, and he asked Nikki to get out of his van and she walked away,” according to Ryan.

On the stand, he said the teen fought him and reached for a gun, and he said he had no choice but to subdue her, KATU reported.

Court documents suggest Bogdanov strangled the teen with a cord, according to KATU.

Bogdanov admitted that in June 2019, he dumped the girl’s body near Larch Mountain in remote Clark County, according to KATU.

Under questioning, he acknowledged that he would have found it “humiliating” if his family found out that he had been with a transgender woman.

Sentencing is set for September 9.

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CNN’s Andy Rose also contributed to this story.

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