Convicted killer Michelle Kosilek’s facial hair was the subject of a hearing in a case where a judge has already ordered Massachusetts to pay for her sex-reassignment surgery.
The attorneys for Kosilek argued before Chief US District Court Judge Mark Wolf that her electrolysis treatments should continue despite Department of Corrections resistance.
It was not clear whether Wolf would decide today whether to compel the department to continue with the beard removal treatment that stopped after six weeks.
According to Kosilek’s attorney, Fran Cohen, the removal - part of her male-to-female transformation that includes a sexual reassignment surgery - was incomplete when halted.
Robert Dierner, a medical expert who met with Kosilek and determined that electrolysis wasn’t necessary, testified that Kosilek appeared to exaggerate her facial hair growth.
For example, Dierner testified, during one evaluation, Kosilek said going several days without shaving would result in a full beard.
“I didn’t think that was possible,” Dierner testified on behalf of the state Department of Correction.
Kosilek strangled his wife, Cheryl, in Mansfield, Mass., in 1990 and dumped her body in a car at the Emerald Square Mall in North Attleborough.
Kosilek then fled to New York State before being arrested.
Kosilek, who was convicted as Robert Kosilek but appeared at trial dressed like a woman, legally changed her name to Michelle in 1993 and has been living as a woman in an all-male prison in Norfolk since.
In September, Wolf issued a landmark ruling that taxpayers must pay for Kosilek to undergo sex-reassignment surgery for a transsexual prison inmate.
The surgery, he ruled, is the only adequate care for his serious mental illness, gender identity disorder.
Kosilek first sued the Department of Correction in 2000, arguing that its refusal to pay for a sex-change violates her Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.
The department has consistently opposed Kosilek’s request.
Wolf ruled that the DOC violated the Eighth Amendment.