Robert James Spells
NBC Los Angeles

An Inglewood, Calif., man was charged Monday in the shooting death of a 21-year-old transgender woman during a robbery, the Los Angeles Times reports, as well as with forcing an 11-year-old girl into prostitution.

Robert James Spells, 30, faces charges of capital murder with a special circumstance of killing someone during a robbery, second-degree robbery, offering the child to men for sex and aggravated sexual assault of a child, the news site notes.

Deshawnda “Ta-Ta” Sanchez was shot in early December. She had called 911 at around 4 a.m. the morning of Dec. 3, saying that she had been robbed and assaulted. While banging on a door begging for help, she was killed.

Spells was identified as a suspect in Sanchez’s slaying late last week and was also connected to the reported sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl in February. According to the report, DNA and residential surveillance video helped police link him to both crimes.


Spells reportedly knew Sanchez, but Los Angeles Police Detective Chris Barling did not expand further on the relationship between the two.

Prosecutors believe that Sanchez’s identity as transgender had something to do with her assault and slaying, but have not filed hate-crime charges against the suspect.

If convicted, the 30-year-old man faces life without parole, the Los Angeles Times notes.


Read more at the Los Angeles Times.