Once, Lyralisa Stevens and Bonnie Lynn Lewis were friends. They both lived at the Desert Inn Motel on Fifth Street in San Bernardino when they got into an argument over money, prosecutors said.
Stevens, who was technically a man, lived life as a woman, with breast implants, estrogen therapy and apparently a taste for clothes. Stevens believed that Lewis owed him $400 for outfits, and that erupted into a big argument between them which stretched over days.
Lewis went so far as to get a restraining order against Stevens - but it did little good when Stevens marched down the motel stairs cradling a shotgun wrapped in a white towel. Lewis, afraid, had called 911, and was on the phone with a dispatcher when Stevens shot and killed her.
Stevens, who wore a navy blue skirt throughout the weeklong trial, according to accounts in the San Bernardino Sun and Riverside Press-Enterprise, was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.
Which brings us to Stevens' lawsuit against the state. Stevens has been on female hormones for more than a decade - standard preparation for a sex change operation; has had a hormone-linked tumor in Stevens' brain; and is in dire need of the surgery, according to court records.