RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A transgender Virginia prisoner, seeking sex change surgery paid for by the state, has been granted parole. It's a major development happening in the middle of a controversial, landmark case.
Ophelia De'Lonta, born Michael Stokes, is being paroled after serving more than three decades behind bars for bank robbery.
Last year, a U.S. District Court judge ordered the Virginia Department of Corrections to have De'Lonta examined by a 'gender specialist'. News of her parole comes before the court gets a chance to rule whether the surgery is medically necessary.
Ophelia De'Lonta had a parole hearing back on November 18, she said in a phone interview in December. NBC12 spoke with her niece by phone on Wednesday.
Tiffany Stokes says the family is "overjoyed because no one in the family thought they would be living, when she walked free."