A man has been convicted of killing transgender teenager Nikki Kuhnhausen in Washington two years ago.
On Aug. 27, a Clark County Superior Court jury found David Bogdanov, 27, guilty of second-degree murder and the hate-crime offense malicious harassment.
“We were all holding hands while we were awaiting the verdict to be read and that was really powerful,” said Linden Walls, a member of the group Justice for Nikki, according to the Associated Press. “It felt like we were all together … and the sense of relief that came that we got justice for Nikki, that we were able to push this and the jury could see it and did the right thing.”
According to prosecutors, Bogdanov and 17-year-old Kuhnhausen first met in downtown Vancouver in June 2019. Bogdanov and Kuhnhausen were engaged in sexual activity in the backseat of his car when he discovered she was transgender. He then strangled her to death with a phone charger cord, the AP reported.
Bogdanov testified during trial that he was acting in self-defense, claiming he had ordered the victim out of his car and put the cord around Kuhnhausen’s shoulders so she couldn’t grab for a gun he had. He claimed the cord then slipped and went around her neck.
Kuhnhausen was reported missing shortly after the encounter, and her remains were found in East Clark County six months later.
Court testimony showed that after the murder Bogdanov dumped Kuhnhausen’s body and fled to Ukraine before eventually returning to the United States. Detectives were able to use the victim’s Snapchat account to link her to Bogdanov, KGW reported.
“He took her from us for no other reason than hatred. He could've just walked away,” Lisa Woods, Kuhnhausen's mother, said at Bogdanov’s bail hearing in January 2020. “Nikki Kuhnhausen had so much potential. She will never graduate from high school, feel the sun on her face or celebrate her 18th birthday. We live with this every day. It will never be the same again because he chose to murder my baby girl, Nikki. Who was loved by so many and touched everyone's heart.”
Bogdanov will be sentenced on Sept. 9 and faces from 11 to 19½ years behind bars.