Transgender teen who fatally stabbed parents, pet dog because of 'gender identity issues' sentenced to 40 years in prison
20-year-old Andrea Balcer pleaded guilty to two counts of intentional or knowing murder and one count of aggravated cruelty to animals and was sentenced to 40 years behind bars
A teenager who entered a guilty plea in connection with the fatal stabbings of parents and pet dog on Halloween night in 2016 was sentenced to 40 years in prison by a judge. 20-year-old Andrea Balcer, who previously claimed the murders were committed while struggling with gender identity and acceptance and had "snapped" on the night of the killings, asked for forgiveness from the family.
According to CBS News, Balcer spoke during the sentence hearing and said, "I do not speak today to beg for lenience or to try to save myself from due punishment. I'm here only to ask for one thing, the forgiveness of my family." Balcer's older brother, who was spared on the gruesome night, was one of many family members who asked the judge to not show leniency to the 20-year-old and impose the maximum possible sentence.
Balcer was just 17 years old at the time of the killing spree. In the recording of the 911 call Balcer made after murdering parents Alice and Antonio Balcer and a chihuahua, the accused described the stabbing of Alice in the back while hugging her before then stabbing Antonio when he woke up to his wife's screaming. Balcer also said the dog was stabbed because it refused to stop barking. An autopsy revealed Alice was stabbed nine times while Antonio was stabbed a dozen times.
The teen reportedly couldn't explain much to the dispatcher, only suggesting having "snapped." Balcer repeated the explanation to detectives during questioning but later explained having felt like a woman trapped in a man's body from an early age and that the victims were never supportive of the transitioning. Balcer also claimed Alice had been sexually abusive.
During the trial, defense attorney Walter McKee argued Balcer was struggling to deal with transitioning from male to female because of being isolated and without the support of family. "She has indicated some issues with respect to transitioning from the gender assigned at birth [as a trigger for the crimes]," he was quoted saying.
The argument was rejected by both the prosecution and Balcer's family. CBS News reported the comments of Carl Pierce, Alice's brother, who stated the suggestion that gender identity, abuse, or lack of support played a role in the murders was an "insult to our family, an insult to society, and an insult to the LGBTQ community."
He also revealed he talked about Balcer's sexuality openly with Antonio. "There was no hatred," he said. "There was no malice. There was no ill will. There was resignation to be sure but ultimately there was acceptance. To justify these killings because of sexual identity or gender dysphoria beliefs is truly a cowardly act. Andrea should be ashamed of herself for it."
The accused's brother, Christopher Balcer, told authorities Balcer allowed him to escape after telling him, "It's not your day," and said the now-20-year-old's excuses were "flimsy." He said, "In my view, all leniency does is put a remorseless murderer back on the street."
Having been tried as an adult in the case — something that could have resulted in being sentenced to life in prison — the teen eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of intentional or knowing murder and one count of aggravated cruelty to animals. It was part of a plea deal with the Maine Attorney General's office that saw the sentence capped at 55 years.
While handing out the 40-year sentence, Justice Daniel Billings noted Balcer's lack of criminal record, the teen's good grades, age, and acceptance of responsibility by pleading guilty, but refused to take into account the struggles with gender identity. He said other transgender people struggled with societal and family acceptance and that it couldn't be used as an excuse for the actions.