Prosecutors charged a Detroit pastor with murdering a 36-year-old transgender woman on Monday, the Associated Press reports.
Kelly Stough was found dead in the Palmer Park neighborhood of the city on Friday, and prosecutors allege Albert Weathers was responsible in her death.
“After a police investigation, prosecutors arraigned Weathers on charges of open murder and use of a firearm in [the] commission of a felony,” the Wayne County prosecutor’s office told NBC News in a statement.
LGBTQ site INTO said Weathers called the cops to report a robbery and shot someone in self-defense, but prosecutors claim they have evidence that Stough was killed because she was a transgender woman, per the AP.
Stough’s family told NBC News she was known on Detroit’s ballroom scene and she was a courageous woman. “I want people to know that because she was transgender doesn’t mean that she was not loved, that she was not cared for,” her mother, Jessica Chantae Stough, said. “She has a family who cared about her, who loved her, and I want them to know that transgender ladies— expressly those of color—they’re just not throwaways; people care about them.”
At least 25 transgender people have been murdered in the U.S. this year, the majority of them being women of color, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
“We mourn the loss of her life at the Anti-Violence Project and will work to honor her by uplifting the whole of her life as a vibrant member of the Detroit community and ballroom scene, and not erase her as a number or statistic,” Eliel Cruz, a spokesperson for LGBTQ nonprofit Anti-Violence Project, told NBC News.
According to NBC News, Nicole R. Mapson-Cone, Stough’s cousin, has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for funeral services.
Weathers’ bond was set at $1 million.