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Michigan teen charged with trans woman's murder, to be tried as adult

Carlos Lamar Scotland Michigan teen tried as adult shooting killing trans woman of color Ashia Davis hotel courtyard perp video footage
Michigan State Police, Metro Detroit; facebook @ashia.davis.71

Ashia Davis was found in a hotel room with a single gunshot wound to the head; her accused killer was only 17 at the time.

A Michigan teen has been charged with the murder of a transgender woman who was shot and killed on the first day of Pride Month last year.

Ashia Davis, 36, was found dead in a Highland Park hotel on June 1, 2023, with a single gunshot wound to her head. A transgender woman of color, Davis is believed to be the 12th trans, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming person to die by violence last year, and one of 35 violent deaths overall for the year.

Carlos Lamar Scotland, 18, was charged Friday with first-degree murder, felony firearm, carrying a concealed weapon, and resisting and obstructing a police officer for the incident and arrest. While Scotland was only 17 at the time of the murder, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said he would be tried as an adult.

“Ms. Davis was a transgender woman of color who was murdered on the first day of Pride Month on June 1, 2023,” Worthy said in a statement. “She was beloved in her community and was known to be a generous and compassionate person according to her family and many friends. It is alleged that the defendant shot and killed her. At the time of her death, she had recently completed nursing school and was going to start a new job when her life was tragically cut short.”

“Ms. Davis was beloved in her community and was known to be a generous and compassionate person,” Fair Michigan posted to social media.

Highland Park Police were called to a hotel just after 11 p.m. on June 1 to investigate a report of gunshots. Once there they found Davis dead in her room.

Prosecutors allege Scotland killed Davis with a handgun and then fled the scene.

Timestamps on the hotel’s security video from the night of the murder show a teen or young man believed to be Scotland walking across the hotel’s interior courtyard parking lot at 10:57 p.m. and then entering Davis’s room a minute later. The same person can be seen running from the room at 11:16 p.m., according to the video’s timestamp.

Scotland was arraigned Friday before Judge Brigette Officer Holley in the 30th District Court. He has a probable cause conference scheduled for March 26.

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