Man Tells Court Killing of Transgender Teen Was 'Self Defense'

A Washington man accused of murdering a 17-year-old transgender teenager in June 2019 told the court Tuesday that it was out of self-defense.

David Bogdanov, 27, admitted in court that he killed 17-year-old Nikki Kuhnhausen, but that it was for his own protection.

Prosecutors allege Bogdanov killed Kuhnhausen after they had sex in a car and she revealed that she was born a biological male but identified as female. Bogdanov is being charged with second-degree murder as well as malicious harassment, according to The Columbian. He took the stand on Tuesday as the only witness for the defense.

During closing arguments Wednesday, Bogdanov claimed that Kuhnhausen attacked him after she informed him that she was transgender and that he reacted in self-defense.

Bogdanov told the court on Tuesday that he met Kuhnhausen in the early morning of June 6, 2019, after he had been drinking with his brothers. He said that he saw the teenager walking by herself and pulled over his brother's van to ask if she needed a ride. The two talked and exchanged Snapchat usernames.

He told the court that they planned to meet up later in the day. Later, he and Kuhnhausen had sex in the back of his car. She then informed him she was transgender, and Bogdanov said he was "humiliated," that his family would shun him if they found out. He claims that he told her to get out of the car, but that she fought him before reaching for his gun. He told the court he had no choice but to subdue the teen.

It is unclear whether Kuhnhausen actually reached for the gun.

"I know she was going for the gun," Bogdanov told the prosecutor during the trial, according to local news station KATU. "But up to that point, you had no idea she even touched it, right?" replied the lawyer. "I wasn't sure," Bogdanov replied.

Court House
A man accused of murdering Nikki Kuhnhausen, a 17-year-old transgender teenager, back in 2019 told the court Wednesday that it was out of self-defense. This is a stock image of a courthouse. Pierre Desrosiers/Getty Images

Kuhnhausen's body was found on a hillside near a rural area near Larch Mountain. During the trial, Bogdanov admitted to leaving her body there, as well as wrapping a phone charger around her shoulders that "slipped" up and around her neck. Bogdanov claimed that he thought Kuhnhausen had just lost consciousness and removed the cord, only to discover she had no pulse. He then drove away and dumped her body.

Bogdanov said that he was "scared" and "panicked," that he feared the police wouldn't believe him because he had been drinking and there were drugs in the car—which he claimed were Kuhnhausen's—so he didn't call the police, according to The Columbian.

During initial interviews with police, Bogdanov did not mention self-defense or dumping the teen's body on a hillside, according to Senior Deputy Prosecutor Colin Hayes.

The prosecution refutes Bogdanov's self-defense claim. Rather, they believe he murdered Kuhnhausen after being informed she was transgender because he was embarrassed that he had sex with her.

"The thought of people finding out about this was really scary to you. You were humiliated in that moment, correct?" the prosecution asked Bogdanov.

"Yes," he replied.

The state is attempting to prove second-degree murder.