A pastor who shot and killed a transgender black woman in Detroit on December 7 targeted her because of gender identity — and evidence of that will be presented in court, Wayne County prosecutors told Gay City News.
Police found the body of 36-year-old Kelly Stough, who also identified as Keanna Mattel, on that Friday morning at 6 a.m. at the corner of East McNichols and Brush Streets, about seven miles north of downtown Detroit.
Following an investigation, Albert Weathers, 46, was arrested and charged with open murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony. He is being held on $1 million cash/ surety, and a probable cause conference is slated for December 20 at 8:30 a.m. A preliminary examination in front of Judge Michael Wagner is set for December 27 at 1:30 p.m.
It is not clear whether Stough and Weathers knew each other personally before the fatal shooting. The county’s assistant prosecutor, Maria Miller, was reluctant to divulge further details surrounding the case.
“There are aspects of the case that are under investigation, so very few facts have been released,” Miller told Gay City News in a written statement.
New St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, which lists Weathers as a pastor from 1997-1999, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A GoFundMe page dedicated to Stough, which has generated $3,040 since December 8, states that she died due “to a senseless, cowardly act of hateful violence.” The creator of the GoFundMe page, Nicole R. Mapson-Cone, did not return requests for comment.
“With a broken heart, and tears that just won’t stop, is one of the most painful experiences imaginable,” the page reads.
Timothy Clark said in a Facebook post that a benefit show is slated for Wednesday to raise funds for Stough’s burial.
Stough was involved in the local ball scene and is seen performing in Facebook videos posted by acquaintances. She was also outspoken about transgender issues and voiced her opinion about violence against the community during an interview with The Guardian in 2015.
“The police are unaware with our struggle so they have no sympathy for us,” she said following the murder of 20-year-old transgender woman Amber Moore. “Nobody ever asks, what happened to that person to get here?”
Special prosecutor Jaimie Powell Horowitz of the Fair Michigan Justice Program (FMJP) is handling the case. The FMJP is a joint effort between the prosecutor’s office and Fair Michigan Foundation, which works with police officers and prosecutors in cases involving crimes against the LGBTQ community in Michigan.
“This case reflects the excessive brutality that members of Detroit’s transgender community constantly face,” said Fair Michigan Foundation president Dana Nessel, who was just elected as Michigan’s next attorney general and will become the first out LGBTQ person to hold statewide office.
Black transgender women continue to be the target of the vast majority of cases of violence against the community during a year when the Human Rights Campaign has tallied 25 deaths against transgender women in the United States.
Stough’s tragic death came roughly a week after another transgender black woman, 37-year-old Tydi Dansbury, was shot and killed in Baltimore. In that case, authorities have not apprehended a suspect and there are very few details about the circumstances of her death.