Kelly Stough, a 36-year-old transgender woman from Detroit, was murdered on Friday in the city’s Palmer Park neighborhood. On Monday, the Wayne County prosecutor’s office charged Albert Weathers, a 46-year-old preacher, in her murder.
“After a police investigation, prosecutors arraigned Weathers on charges of open murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony,” said a press release shared with NBC News by the Wayne County prosecutor’s office. Weathers’ is due back in court in late December. His bond has been set at $1 million.
Prosecutors said they will present evidence in court that Stough’s gender identity was a motivating factor in her murder. According to LGBTQ news site INTO, Weathers called police to report a robbery and claimed he had shot someone in self-defense, though NBC News has not independent confirmed that this call was made.
“I want people to know that because she was transgender doesn't mean that she was not loved, that she was not cared for,” Jessica Chantae Stough, Kelly’s mother, said in an interview with NBC News. “She has a family who cared about her, who loved her, and I want them to know that transgender ladies — expressly those of color — they're just not throwaways; people care about them.”
“She was educated, she was God-filled, she loved church, she loved others,” Stough continued. “As a human being in the United States of America, you have the right to be who you want to be, and you shouldn’t be shamed or bullied or persecuted for the choice you make.” The victim’s cousin, Nicole R. Mapson-Cone, started a GoFundMe page to help the family pay for Kelly’s funeral costs.