Metro Weekly

Court date set for men arrested in Keyonna Blakeney murder

One of the suspects in transgender woman's stabbing claims he was present, but didn't stab the victim

Keyonna Monroe Blakeney (Photo: Facebook).
Keyonna Monroe Blakeney (Photo: Facebook).

The two men arrested in last month’s slaying of transgender woman Keyonna Blakeney have been scheduled for a preliminary hearing on June 10 at 10 a.m. at Montgomery County District Court.

Keith Renier, 21, and Arbra Bethea, 17, both of Southeast Washington, were arrested last week and charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. Bethea, despite being under 18, is being charged as an adult. The two men appeared in court earlier this week and were ordered held without bond as they await trial.

When the men appeared in court, prosecutors asserted that Bethea had arranged to meet with Blakeney under the guise of a date, while he and Renier planned to rob her, The Washington Post reports. According to court documents, once the men were inside Blakeney’s hotel room, the planned robbery led to a struggle, with Blakeney being stabbed multiple times. She later died of her injuries, only being found by cleaning staff the next morning.

Prosecutors say that when Bethea was questioned about the murder, he pointed the finger at Renier, claiming his older co-conspirator was the one who actually stabbed Blakeney during the altercation. The Post reports that Renier was previously arrested in February in the District of Columbia for brandishing a knife on a Metro platform, after getting into an altercation with a woman he knew. He later pleaded guilty in that case in April, and was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to take anger management classes.

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