A transgender woman who was arrested in Abbotsford in 2014 as a suspect in a Washington state murder recently fought her extradition to the U.S, saying she was not given “diplomatic assurances” that she would be housed in a women’s facility and protected from the risk of abuse.
The individual, who at the time of the arrest five years ago was known as Kevin Patterson but now uses the first name Rachel, applied for a judicial review of the extradition decision, but the review was denied by all three judges considering the application.
Patterson, now 25, was arrested at an Abbotsford hotel after she and her co-accused, Christopher Shade, allegedly used shovels to bludgeon to death Patterson’s roommate Richard Bergesen, 57, who was found dead in his Sammamish, Wash., home on Sept. 17, 2014.
The pair then allegedly stole the victim’s credit cards and 2013 BMW 328 sedan and fled to Canada, driving under a barbed wire fence on a road north of Spokane.
The two then supposedly used the stolen credit cards to go on a shopping spree in Abbotsford and host a party at a local hotel.
They were arrested later that day after U.S. authorities tracked the BMW from the vehicle’s GPS device.
Shade was sent back to the U.S., where he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is currently serving a prison term of at least another 17 years, but Patterson, who has dual U.S.-Canadian citizenship, remained in B.C.
Patterson was ordered extradited to the U.S. in 2015 to face charges of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and theft of a motor vehicle.
According to court documents, Patterson then made eight written submissions to the Minister of Justice to fight the extradition.
In one of these submissions, in November 2017, Patterson said that she “identified as a homosexual” and had twice been sexually assaulted while serving prior prison terms in the U.S.
She asked for assurances that she be placed in special protective custody if extradited to the U.S.
A follow-up submission in March 2018 indicated that Patterson had been reluctant to reveal that not only is she gay, but is transgendered and had been undergoing hormone replacement therapy.
Patterson said she was fearful of being incarcerated in the U.S.
“The prejudice against transgendered prisoners is such that they would tear her to shreds,” Patterson’s lawyer wrote in the submission.
The lawyer further referenced that Correctional Service Canada has a policy on housing transgender inmates according to their gender identity.
But the Minister of Justice responded that it had obtained materials from King County and Washington state correctional officials, stating that they, too, have policies pertaining to the protection and treatment of transgender inmates.
Patterson argued in her application to overturn the extradition order that she should have been given “diplomatic assurances” as to how these policies would be applied to her situation.
“She asserts that the policies do not provide any assurance as to her housing and safety,” court documents state.
But the three judges considering the application said the minister acted reasonably in relying on the information provided by the U.S. authorities and concluding that it would not be “oppressive or unjust” to extradite Patterson without those diplomatic assurances.