A Detroit pastor has been charged with the murder of a transgender woman and authorities believe her gender identity played a role in the killing.
Kelly Stough, 36, was found shot to death Thursday by a police officer at a Detroit intersection, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. On Monday, 46-year-old Albert Weathers, a local pastor, was arrested and charged with open murder and related charges. Open murder is typically used to charge a defendant with multiple kinds of murder or manslaughter charges, according to Michigan law. The pastor has also been charged with use of a firearm in commission of a felony.
"This case reflects the excessive brutality that members of Detroit's transgender community constantly face. We thank the Detroit Police Department for their efforts to investigate the facts of this tragic crime," said Dana Nessel, president of the Fair Michigan Justice Project, a program that helps solve crimes committed against members of the LGBT community.
Evidence about how Stough's gender identity played a role in her murder will be presented in court, a spokesperson for the Wayne County prosecutor's office told Fox News.
Authorities have been tight-lipped regarding details of the case, but WXYZ in Detroit reports that after the shooting, Weathers went to his job at Great Lakes Water Authority, where he worked for about an hour before allegedly calling police to tell them he shot someone during an attempted robbery.
Stough's mother told local media that her daughter struggled with discrimination for many years.
"You keep fighting, keep pushing and live your life. ... Don't let the world dictate how you should live," Jessica Williams Stough told FOX 2 Detroit. "[She] was always a happy kid but bullied because of [her] tendencies."
Weathers’ bond has been set at $1 million cash. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf.
[Photo: Detroit Police Department via the Associated Press]
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