By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com February 15 2013 12:38 PM ET
Milwaukee Police Sergeant Mark Stanmeyer told reporters yesterday that the department has called off the search for the body of Evon Young (better known as Yung LT), a transgender rapper who was allegedly murdered ealier this year. According to Milwaukee's TMJ4, police spent three weeks searching the landfill where the alleged killers had told them they dumped Young's body after murdering him.
"Detectives had narrowed the area of the landfill that [Evon's] body was most likely in, resulting in tons of garbage being moved and searched in an effort to locate any evidence related to the homicide," Stanmeyer said. "The detectives, as well as personnel from the landfill, a local excavating company, and dog handlers conducted an exhaustive search under challenging circumstances, however [Evon's] remains were not found."
The 22-year-old up-and-coming musician was murdered on New Year's Day by a gang of five men who had been his friends. His death was a classic case of overkill: he was tied up, beaten with fists and other objets, choked with a chain, had a bag taped over his head, he was then shot, set on fire, and discarded into a dumpster.
The media was quick to point out that his murder had nothing to do with him being transgender, being that he was deeply closeted, though his family and friends have been quick to dispute that. One of his best friends gave an anonymous interview with TransAdvocate.com that illuminates the case. The media and the police in the region used Young's birth name and often identified him as female, despite the fact that he had been male-identified by his family and his public records.
His mother, who reported him missing, also alleged that police were slow to search for Young because he was a young, black, transgender man.
The men arrested for his murder include Young's roommate, Billy R. Griffin, 26, who, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, initially said Young had gotten into a car with someone on Jan. 1 and never returned. He later admitted to police that the other four men, who were part of a gang, came to his house and told him to kill Young in order to return to the gang. Police reports say that Griffin admitted the men told him that "Young couldn't be trusted" but did not clarify what they meant by that and whether his gender identity could be part of the subterfuge they alleged.
The other four men, Griffin alleges, killed Young that day. Police arrested Victor Stewart, 27, Ashanti Mcalister, 19, Ron Allen, 37, and Devin Seaberry, 23.
Stewart told police that he had an argument with Young over a burglary and that he asked Griffin to kill the rapper but when Griffin declined, he and the other three men beat, suffocated, and strangled Young and then, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Mcalister shot the victim "three times with a .22-caliber handgun."
Though the latest search was called off without finding Young's body, police did say they found other evidence that can be used in the prosecution of the five men, all of whom have been charged with first-degree intentional homicide. Blood evidence at the home Young and Griffin shared proved that Young had been killed there, so the district attorney can move forward with the mens' prosecution without a body.