Metro Weekly

Miss Trans America founder’s husband sentenced to life in prison for killing her

Mark Steele-Knudslien claimed he "snapped" and killed his wife in their North Adams home

miss trans america, Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, transgender

Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien — Photo: Facebook

The husband of Miss Trans America pageant founder Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to killing her.

Mark Steele-Knudslien, 49, of North Adams, Mass., pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last week, accepting a sentence of life in prison, with the possibility of parole in 25 years.

Steele-Knudslien initially pleaded not guilty to charges that he killed his wife in their home on Jan. 4, 2018.

Local police claimed that he had come into the police station and asked to be placed in handcuffs, telling them he had done “something very bad,” according to

After telling police that he had “snapped” and killed his wife, police responded to the couple’s home, finding Christa dead, wrapped in bedding, plastic, and a tarp along with the murder weapons — a knife and a hammer — in the basement.

An autopsy later revealed that Christa Steele-Knudslien died from blood loss due to a stab wound to her torso and multiple blunt force trauma to the head, with her death being classified as a homicide, reports Springfield-based NBC affiliate WWLP.

Christa Steele-Kundslien, 42, was well known in the transgender community and LGBTQ pageant circles.

She helped to launch the first New England Trans Pride, as well as the Miss Trans New England and Miss Trans America pageants.

Her death made her the first transgender person to be killed in the United States in 2018 — a year in which 25 other transgender people’s lives would be claimed.

Read more:

Republican lawmaker’s sister urges him to abandon anti-trans legislation

Virginia Values Act, an LGBTQ rights bill, passes House of Delegates subcommittee

Woman charged with setting fire to building housing a transgender advocacy organization

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

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