Thirty-five-year-old Kelly Stough was fatally shot in Detroit by former pastor Albert Weathers, the 24th killing of a transgender person in America this year.
Weathers, 46, appeared in court Monday, where his bond was set at $1 million. He was arraigned on charges of open murder and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
On Dec. 7, police say Stough, 36, and Weathers came into contact with another, though details remain unclear. Stough was found dead the morning after. Weathers, who was listed a pastor at a nearby church from 1997 to 1999 and rented space in a local church for a small congregation until his arrest, fled the scene shortly thereafter.
Investigators have yet to reveal a motive or any other details. A source told local ABC affiliate WXYZ that Weathers fled the scene and clocked into work before alerting police that he had shot a would-be thief.
Like many other trans women of color, Kelly, who embraced life as a transgender woman during college, encountered her fair share of bullying in life.
Her mother, Jessica Williams Stough, told a local Fox affiliate her daughter “was always a happy kid but bullied because of his tendencies.”
Kelly was an aspiring fashion designer, and used her background to motivate other members of the LGBTQ community.“You keep fighting, keep pushing and live your life,” she said. “Don’t let the world dictate how you should live.”
Dana Nessel, President of the Fair Michigan Justice Project, said Stough’s murder “reflects the excessive brutality that members of Detroit’s transgender community constantly face.”
The Great Lakes Water Authority, Weathers’ employer, promptly announced his termination.
David Cripps, defense attorney for Weathers, says his client maintains his innocence. Citing close ties to the community, including his church, Cripps plans to argue for the lowering of his client’s bond.