A man identified as a suspect in the murder of 24-year-old black trans woman Gizzy Fowler, who was found fatally shot next to her car in November, turned himself into police Tuesday, reports Nashville news station WSMV.
Mallory Antoine Porter, 18, surrendered himself to authorities the same afternoon that local media announced he had been identified as Fowler's murderer, but he has denied being involved in the crime. An arrest warrant was issued for Porter after Fowler's phone records revealed she had traveled to the area where her body was found to meet someone. Forensic evidence revealed that unnamed individual to be Porter, according to WSMV.
Initially, investigators were unclear as to how Fowler had come to be in the driveway of a stranger's home at 5:27 a.m. on November 12. Neighbors had called police to report a suspected burglary after hearing a gunshot, seeing lights on inside an unoccupied house on their Bordeaux-area block, and spotting an unfamiliar white Buick LaCrosse, which police identified as Fowler's. When police arrived, however, they found that the house showed no signs of forced entry, suggesting that no theft had occurred. They also found Fowler deceased near the passenger door of her car.
Following Porter's arrest for the shooting, members of Nashville's trans community have suggested that Fowler's murder may be a hate crime. "A lot of these types of murders generally involve hatred towards a person's gender," Marisa Richmond, a member of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, explained to WSMV.
Porter has been charged with criminal homicide for Fowler's murder, and is being held on $150,000 bond.
Fowler's case was among 12 reported murders of U.S. trans women in 2014, in what many trans advocates, including the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has called a homicide "epidemic" — one that is particularly fatal for trans women of color.
This year has begun with a similarly striking number of murders of trans women reported killed within the first two months of 2015: Kristina Grant Infiniti, 46, in Miami, Fla.; Bri Golec, 22, in Akron, Oh.; Penny Proud, 21, in New Orleans, La.; Taja DeJesus, 36, in San Francisco, Calif.; Yazmin Vash Payne, 33, in Los Angeles, Calif.; Ty Underwood, 24, in North Tyler, Texas; Lamia Beard, 30, in Norfolk, Va; and Papi Edwards, 20, in Louisville, Ky.
Anyone with information about Fowler's murder is asked to call Metro Nashville Police at (615) 862-7400.