REPORT: Trans Muslim Who Strangled Baby Sues Prison Chaplain For Allegedly Denying Him Hijab

(Photo by Ali Khaligh / Middle East Images / Middle East Images via AFP) (Photo by ALI KHALIGH/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images)

Julianna Frieman Contributor
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A transgender Muslim who reportedly strangled a baby sued his prison chaplain in November for denying him his hijab.

Autumn Cordellioné, a man who was previously known as Jonathan C. Richardson, is seeking $150,000 in damages after officials at Branchville Correctional Facility allegedly refused to enable his identification as a Muslim woman by allowing him to wear a hijab, Reduxx reported.

Cordellioné accused Chaplain Tony Gray of violating his First, Eighth and 14th Amendment constitutional rights when he allegedly was told by Gray that he could not wear his hijab outside of his prison cell in May 2023, court records revealed.

“I wear a hijab in order to cover my head and ears for modesty purposes, as I am an Islamic practicing transwoman,” Cordellioné told the chaplain at the time, according to the outlet.

Cordellioné, who was serving a 55-year sentence at the all-male prison for murdering his infant stepdaughter in 2001, argued that Muslim inmates in the facility were allowed to wear kufis or taqiyah, according to the outlet. Both garments are round, brimless prayer caps worn by Muslim men. (RELATED: Drag Queen Principal Resigns From Oklahoma School Following Backlash: REPORT)

“Islamic faith mandates the wearing of a kufi for males … Islamic faith also mandates females of the faith wear hijabs when outside the home and when not amongst men of their family,” Cordellioné said, according to the complaint. “Tony Gray allows male Muslims to wear their sufis, but denies me, a transwoman, the same privilege.”

Cordellioné claimed not being able to wear a hijab was cruel and unusual punishment, stating that he was subject to “‘harassment and ridicule’ by Islamic prisoners in his jail,” the outlet reported. The transgender inmate’s case could be dismissed if he fails to pay the $36.55 nominal initial filing fee, which he indicated he cannot afford due to financial struggles.