Stough photo via Facebook, Weathers mugshot via City of Detroit
Kelly Stough, left, and Albert Weathers.
A Detroit pastor was charged this week in the murder of Kelly Stough, a 36-year-old transgender woman who was found shot dead in Detroit on Friday. Albert Weathers, 46, was charged on Monday with open murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony.
Stough was found near McNichols Road and Brush Street on Detroit's east side on Friday morning. It's unclear what relationship the two had. Weathers lives in Sterling Heights with a wife and children and rents space at a church in Detroit, where he has a small congregation.
According to WXYZ
, a source says after the shooting Weathers fled the scene. He then punched in at his day job at the Great Lakes Water Authority, where he called police to report say that someone tried to rob him and that he shot someone. WXYZ reports the Great Lakes Water Authority promptly fired Weathers.
The crime is being investigated as a hate crime. "This case reflects the excessive brutality that members of Detroit’s transgender community constantly face," said Dana Nessel, Michigan’s attorney general-elect and president of Fair Michigan, a program that assists in solving crimes involving members of the LGBT communities. "We thank the Detroit Police Department for their efforts to investigate the facts of this tragic crime."
Stough was an aspiring fashion designer, her mother, Jessica Chantae Stough, told NBC News
"I want people to know that because she was transgender doesn't mean that she was not loved, that she was not cared for," she said. "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."
Stough's mother says her daughter was also involved in her local church.
"She was educated, she was God-filled, she loved church, she loved others," Stough's mother said. "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."
Violence against transgender people has risen in 2018, with at least 25 trans people murdered in the U.S., according to the Human Rights Campaign
. The majority of victims are young women of color.
In fact, Stough was interviewed in a 2015 story by The Guardian
(under the pseudonym "Keanna Mattel") about the murder of transgender women in Detroit, NBC News reports.
"The police are unaware with our struggle so they have no sympathy for us," Stough told The Guardian
. "Nobody ever asks, what happened to that person to get here?" A 2016 Metro Times cover story
looked into how a cycle of poverty was making Detroit a flashpoint for violence against transgender women.
A public viewing for Stough is set for 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday at James H. Cole Home for Funerals (16100 Schaefer Hwy. Detroit; 313-835-3997; jameshcole.com
). Strough's funeral will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday there.
A GoFundMe page
was created for Strough to assist with funeral expenses. As of Thursday morning, it raised more than $4,300 of its original $4,000 goal.
Weather's bond has been set at $1 million.
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