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A beloved transgender activist was stabbed to death in front of children while hosting a couple at her home.
Jahaira DeAlto, 42, had invited Marcus Chavis, 35 and his 28-year-old wife Fatima Yasin into her Boston home, according to a Monday press release from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. Chavis and Yasin lived at DeAlto’s apartment with two children, who were are believed to be DeAlto’s kids.
Chavis called 911 a little after noon on Sunday and allegedly told the operator that he had stabbed his wife, according to the press release. Responding officers arrived at the home to find Chavis in the front entrance, his clothing drenched with blood.
“Inside the apartment, officers were met by the two young children, who were present in the home at the time of the murders,” the press release states.
Yasin and DeAlto were located in separate bedrooms, each suffering serious and fatal stab wounds to the neck. Both succumbed to the wounds.
“A dog with a stab wound was also located in the same bedroom as Ms. DeAlto and taken to MSPCA Angell Animal Medical Center for treatment,” the press release states.
The children were not physically harmed.
Chavis was arraigned on Monday in the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court on two counts of murder and one count of animal cruelty. He’s being held without bail. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer.
No motive has been released for the killings. DeAlto was known for helping those in domestic violence situations.
The Elizabeth Freeman Center, which offers help for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, remembers DeAlto “as a colleague, activist and survivor who touched the lives of everyone around her with her passion, drive, humanity, humor, and fierce vision" in a Facebook post.
In the Center’s Facebook post, they quote a past Mother’s Day post from DeAlto.
"I am the mother who raised the children whose rainbow sparkled too brightly and blinded their birth moms," DeAlto had written. "I cherished what they discarded. I took on earthly assignments for moms who'd earned their Heavenly reward. For their babies who still needed raising. I did that. And I'm still doing that. And I'll keep doing that. Because I will never know what seeing my DNA reflected in another's eyes could look like, but I know what gratitude in the eyes of a young person who finally feels seen looks like. And for me, that's enough."
DeAlto had a YouTube channel, called JahairasMission, where she posted videos on transgender rights.
At least 19 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been murdered in 2021, according to the LGBTQ+ advocacy organization Human Rights Campaign.
Her friend Letta Neely told WBUR that DeAlto “shepherded countless young people who are young, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, trans, questioning and heterosexual youth into the world, when their parents couldn't at that time, or didn't want to."
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