A transgender woman was murdered in Detroit on Friday, the 24th known homicide of a trans American this year, and police have arrested a suspect.
Keanna Mattel, 36, was found shot to death on a Detroit street, The Detroit News reports. Police identified her as Kelly Stough, but friends have used the other name for her.
Albert Weathers, 46, is charged with open murder, a designation under Michigan law that allows flexibility for prosecutors to charge a suspect with varying degrees of murder or manslaughter as more information about a case becomes available. Weathers appeared in court Monday, and bond was set at $1 million.
The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office assigned the case to a special prosecutor, Jaimie Powell Horowitz from the Fair Michigan Justice Project. The project is a collaboration between the prosecutor's office and civil rights group Fair Michigan to deal with crimes against LGBTQ people.
"This case reflects the excessive brutality that members of Detroit's transgender community constantly face," said a statement released by Fair Michigan president Dana Nessel, who was elected Michigan attorney general in November. "We thank the Detroit Police Department for their efforts to investigate the facts of this tragic crime."
Mattel was well known in Detroit's ballroom scene, and friends posted video on Facebook of her performing. Mattel also spoke to the media in 2015 when Amber Monroe, another transgender women of color, was murdered near her home: "The police are unaware with our struggle so they have no sympathy for us," she told TheGuardian.
A benefit to raise money for Mattel's burial expenses will be held Wednesday at the Woodward, a Detroit nightclub, and a GoFundMe page has been set up as well.