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On Tuesday, a member of the Latin Kings gang pleaded guilty to the 2015 murder of a North Carolina transgender woman whose decomposed remains were found in a shallow grave just outside of Smithfield, N.C..
Angel Arias, 25, admitted to killing 20-year-old Elisha Walker, accepting a plea of second-degree murder, in exchange for the court dismissing a charge of stealing a motor vehicle. Arias has been sentenced to 19 years to 24 years in prison, reports the Salisbury Post.
Walker disappeared sometime after Oct. 23, 2014. Shortly after her family reported her missing and investigators went public with facts about her disappearance, Walker’s 2000 silver Pontiac was found burned in an open field in Sampson County, just east of Fayetteville. Walker’s body was found outside of Arias’ home in Johnston County, just outside of Smithfield. Autopsy records show she had been strangled, stabbed, and suffered blunt-force injuries to the head.
Prosecutors say Arias and Walker had been romantically involved for six to eight months. They claim that Arias tried to break of the relationship, but Walker insisted on trying to see him. Arias killed Walker in order to hide the nature of their relationship, which could have threatened his own life if his fellow gang members discovered that he was involved with a transgender woman.
Walker’s sister, Porshia Walker, told the Post that Arias killed her sister for nothing. She added that her sister’s name will live on in even after her death.
She said her family felt they had been provided some measure of closure by attending Arias’ court hearing and knowing he had been sentenced. She said the ordeal opened her family’s eyes to the fact that people need to “love one another, while we can.”