Cleveland Police have arrested and charged a suspect in connection with the December 2013 murder of a 22-year-old transgender woman.
Authorities said late last week Delshawn D. Carroll, 19, has been charged with aggravated murder after he was arrested by homicide detectives on June 5, Cleveland Police said.
The arrest comes over six months after Brittany Nicole Kidd Stergis was found shot to death in her car in the early hours of Dec. 6, 2013. Police told BuzzFeed that detectives do not believe the murder was a hate crime and declined to provide further details in the investigation.
Jake Nash, a local transgender advocate, said the arrest in the case has put some at ease as well as town hall meetings police have held with the community.
“On the one hand, I feel like I’m not having a lot of information given to me by police, and on the other hand, I feel like police are being very much more aware” of the LGBT community in the lead up to the city hosting the 2014 Gay Games this August, Nash said.
Stergis’ murder was one of two unrelated violent homicides that rattled the city’s LGBT community late last year, causing some in the transgender community to fear leaving their homes. Betty Skinner, a 52-year-old transgender women, was found dead at a Cleveland assisted living facility on Dec. 5.
“We are glad someone is in custody in Brittany’s death, but we are still waiting to see what is happening in regard to Betty’s case,” Nash said. “We haven’t really gotten a lot of answers and so we are still concerned and we still want to know what’s going and what happened.”
Sergeant Ali Pillow, Cleveland Police Public Information Officer, told BuzzFeed there are no updates in Skinner’s case. According to Nash, the last time police updated the community was several months ago at a town hall meeting. “I don’t know if it is because they don’t have anything yet, but they’re really not giving us a lot of information.”
In April, Cemia “CeCe” Dove, 20, who was also transgender, was found dead in a in a suburban Cuyahoga County pond. Her killer was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years last November.
In light of the arrest in Stergis’ case, Nash said community advocates will likely hold public meeting for the community.
“There may be a meeting to serve as a reminder and a call to action to remember the fact these three women were murdered last year,” Nash said. “It was just over a year since CeCe was murdered, and so we should gently remind the police and the community that we need to be aware and continue to keep our eyes open and be safe.”
“We don’t want them to be forgotten,” Nash said.
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