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Man Convicted of Felony Murder in Death of Trans Woman "Peaches" Armstrong

Man Convicted of Felony Murder in Death of Trans Woman "Peaches" Armstrong

Peaches Armstrong

Armstrong was shot to death in Lithonia, Ga., in 2020, and her killer was convicted this month.

A Georgia man has been convicted of felony murder and other charges in the death of Black transgender woman Fendi Mon’ezah “Peaches” Armstrong in what authorities say was a dispute over money.

Armstrong, 39, was fatally shot November 11, 2020, in a room at the Knights Inn in Lithonia, near Atlanta. Police responded to a report of a shooting at the motel and found Armstrong, 39, unresponsive after suffering several gunshot wounds, says a press release from the DeKalb County district attorney’s office. Damon Allen, who was in the room with her, was not harmed.

Allen told police he believed Armstrong had been killed because of an argument over money with two people, Deontavious Brewer and Terrel Battle.

Battle, also a trans woman, and Armstrong had been longtime friends, even calling each other sisters. Armstrong had inherited a good deal of money after her father died, and she shared some of it with Battle, but at one point Armstrong refused to give her another $20. Armstrong had also been paying for Battle to live in a room next door to her at the Knights Inn, but she eventually stopped paying and Battle was evicted, motel management told police.

Surveillance video showed Brewer getting out of a car and firing 11 rounds of ammunition into Armstrong’s room, then driving away with Battle. The day after Armstrong’s death, a member of Battle’s family told detectives that Battle and Brewer had come to the relative’s home in North Carolina and said they had killed someone. Battle had posted on Facebook that she intended to kill Armstrong, the relative added.

Police arrested Battle and Brewer at an apartment in Atlanta. Brewer confessed to killing Armstrong and Battle to driving the getaway car, according to the DA’s press release.

Brewer, now 24, did go to trial, and on August 10, a DeKalb County jury convicted him on charges of felony murder, involuntary manslaughter, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and two counts of aggravated assault. He will be sentenced September 5.

Battle pleaded guilty last October to a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. She received a 25-year sentence, with 20 to be served in prison and the rest on probation.

Armstrong was from Springfield, Mass., and lived in Charlotte, N.C., before moving to Georgia shortly before her death, according to the Human Rights Campaign. She was an aspiring motivational health and beauty adviser.

She was at least the 45th trans person to die by violence in the U.S. in 2020. That year set a record for the number of such deaths reported, but 2021 surpassed it with 57. There are likely more in any given year, as many go unreported or misreported due to deadnaming and misgendering. The majority of victims are Black and Latinx women.

“It is horrific that we must confirm the violent death of yet another Black trans woman,” Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a press release. “Fendi deserved to live, but her life was tragically cut short. Gun violence is a plague on our communities that we must all work to stop.”

Pictured: Fendi Mon’ezah “Peaches” Armstrong

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Man Convicted of Felony Murder in Death of Trans Woman "Peaches" Armstrong

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