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Elderly Woman Dies Before Trial Of Hate-Crime Case

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File photo of a judge's gavel. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a judge’s gavel. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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RICHLAND HILLS, Texas (AP) — A 72-year-old North Texas woman charged with an anti-gay hate crime has died before her case could go to court.

Wanda Derby was to appear at her first pretrial hearing Monday. The Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office says she died in November, two months after she was indicted.

She was arrested in March after Richland Hills police say she repeatedly hit a 25-year-old man with her wooden cane and used it to choke him.

Police say she was upset that her son planned to move in with him. Police say Derby yelled derogatory terms for a gay man.

Derby also was accused of hitting the man’s mother when she arrived to help.

Derby initially was charged with assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon enhanced as a hate crime.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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