The Plain Dealer, OH, USA
Jury convicts Andrey Bridges of stabbing to death Cemia “Ce Ce” Dove
By James F. McCarty, The Plain Dealer
on November 08, 2013 at 4:50 PM, updated November 09, 2013 at 1:50 AM
CLEVELAND, Ohio – A Cuyahoga County jury today found Andrey Bridges guilty of stabbing to death Cemia “Ce Ce” Dove, a 20-year-old transgender woman, during a date at his home in Olmsted Township in January.
The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for about a day before rejecting Bridges’ declarations of innocence made during four hours of recorded police interrogations after his arrest in May.
Seven members of the victim’s family wept silently while Common Pleas Court Judge Hollie L. Gallagher read the guilty verdicts. Afterward, the women embraced and cried openly in the hallway outside the courtroom.
“Justice was done,” said the victim’s mother, Martha Acoff. “My son is with me in spirit. Andrey Bridges is going to get what he deserves. He’s going to have to ask God for His forgiveness. I forgive him.”
Dove was born Carl Acoff, but self-identified as a woman.
Gallagher scheduled Bridges’ sentencing for next week. He faces a sentence of 15 years to life in prison, according to the Ohio Revised Code.
The jury declined to find Bridges guilty of aggravated murder, which would have required premeditation, said Assistant County Prosecutor Brian Radigan. Instead, the jurors convicted him of murder, finding that an enraged Bridges killed Dove purposefully and during the commission of a felonious assault.
“The anger behind it, and the absolute brutality – I don’t understand it,” Radigan said. “I’m just happy for the family. It’s hard for them to sit through 10 days of trial and listen to the condition of the body of their loved one, and the horrible way he died.”
According to testimony from Olmsted Township Police Lt. Matthew Vanyo, Bridges, 36, called Dove several times the morning of Jan. 5, and hired a taxicab to pick her up and drive her to his country house apartment. Bridges paid the driver $100. Dove was never seen alive again.
Later that day, two men stopped by the apartment house to pick up rent money that Bridges owed. They reported finding blood spattered in the apartment, Bridges’ hand bleeding profusely, and a bonfire burning in the yard.
Three months later, on April 18, police discovered Dove’s body submerged in a pond next to the apartment. She had been stabbed 40 times, and her body was anchored with a concrete block.
“To his family he was Carl,” said Radigan. “He didn’t hide the fact that he was a transgender woman. They loved him for what he was.”
Radigan and Vanyo theorized that Bridges flew into a rage after becoming intimate with Dove and discovering that she was biologically a man.
“Something happened in that apartment,” Vanyo told Bridges, according to the recording. “When you found out that she wasn’t a woman, but was actually a guy, is that when things went wrong? Things got intimate, and you were furious.”
Bridges later retracted his claims that he knew nothing about the murder, and said he saw Dove with the two men who had come to collect the rent.
But the police didn’t believe Bridges, and neither did the jury.
© 2013 Northeast Ohio Media Group LLC. All rights reserved