Woman charged with escalating confrontation that led to deadly stabbingby Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A woman who started a deadly fight involving transgender woman Chrishaun "CeCe" McDonald has been charged with assault.
Washington County prosecutors say Molly Shannon Flaherty was responsible for escalating a verbal confrontation outside the Schooner Tavern last June in Minneapolis.
By the end of the night, CeCe McDonald had fatally stabbed Flaherty's ex-boyfriend, Dean Schmitz. McDonald pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this month, despite claims from her supporters that she was protecting herself from a racist and anti-gay attack.
The criminal complaint against Flaherty, who is white, says her group of friends, including Schmitz, yelled racial and transgender slurs at the African-American McDonald and two friends. Authorities say Flaherty challenged McDonald's group to a fight and smashed a bar glass into McDonald's face. McDonald eventually stabbed the unarmed Schmitz with a pair of scissors.
Multiple witnesses say Flaherty was the first to get aggressive with McDonald and her friends, said Washington County Attorney Pete Orput.
McDonald is expected to be sentenced to about three and a half years in prison. Flaherty's next court appearance is June 15.
"This is a terrible crime that would never have gone beyond two groups yelling at each other had not Ms. Flaherty aggressively smashed a glass in Ms. McDonald's face," said Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, who took the case to avoid a conflict of interest from the Hennepin County Attorney's office as it pursued the homicide charges against McDonald.
"The point of it, is a group of people are walking down an alley, if you will, minding their own business, going to a store to get some food. They believe a group of people said some derogatory remarks. They walked up to confront the group," Orput said. "That's when the allegations are that Ms. Flaherty assaulted Ms. McDonald. Those are the allegations I put in the complaint that I'm willing to prove."