A man has been arrested and charged with the murder of a trans woman in Dallas, Texas, after police found items belonging to the victim in his car.
Jimmy Eugene Johnson III, 24, was arrested on May 17 in connection with the murder of Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon, who was strangled to death earlier in May.
Flores-Pavon was found in critical condition in her apartment on May 9. She died in hospital shortly after.
According to the Dallas police department, Johnson and Flores-Pavon met through an online chatroom.
Johnson’s primary motive was robbery, police said. They didn’t think the victim had been targeted for her “transgender lifestyle.”
- (Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon / Facebook)
When Flores-Pavon’s body was discovered, police said there was “no evidence at this time to suggest this homicide was the result of a hate crime.”
Flores-Pavon is the ninth transgender woman to be killed in the US this year. A vigil was held for her on May 16 at Dallas’ Cathedral of Hope.
The police described the victim “as [a] black, transgender female approximately 5 feet, 3 inches, and weighing about 130 pounds.” She was wearing black scrub pants and a T-shirt.
The victim is yet to be identified, as the body was in an advanced state of decomposition.
Police are treating the case as an “unexplained death pending a cause of death determination,” and asked anybody with information to come forward.
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On May 13, another transgender individual was murdered in Georgia.
Nina Fortson – also known as Nino Starr – was a trans-masculine and gender non-conforming Atlanta performer.
Fortson was shot dead after getting into an argument with four other people.
Atlanta police are not treating the case as a transphobic attack.
“Our preliminary investigation did not in any way indicate that this individual identified as transgender. We had no evidence that such an identification played any role in this death,” said a spokesperson for the Atlanta police department.
Original reports of Fortson’s death misgendered them as a woman and used the wrong pronouns, which angered the local LGBT community.
Violence against transgender people has been surging in the US in the past five years.
According to Human Rights Watch, there have been 113 trans and non-binary people killed in the country between 2013 and 2017.
28 trans people were killed in 2017 alone, making it the year with the highest number of homicides targeting trans or non-binary people.