An 18-year-old suspect has been arrested in the slaying of a transgender teenager on June 25.
The body of Brayla Stone, 17, was found by a passerby in a vehicle parked on a walking path near Gap Creek Drive in Sherwood, Arkansas.
Pulaski County’s coroner has yet to release a full report on Stone’s death, but police have arrested Trevone Hayse Miller, of Sherwood, charging him with capital murder and tampering or destroying evidence in relation to Stone’s death.
Police told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that there is currently no evidence to indicate that Stone’s murder was motivated by hate or bias due to her gender identity.
Stone is one of at least 18 transgender individuals, mostly women of color, who have been killed in the United States this year, with an uptick in the number of murders over the past two months.
Her death has attracted significant interest on social media, and more than 330,000 individuals signed their name to a Change.org petition urging Sherwood police to further investigate Stone’s murder. That petition claims that Stone was the victim of an organized hit.
According to organizers of the petition, Stone’s killer, going by the username “tapnseason” on Instagram, allegedly bragged about being paid $5,000 for her murder.
The user allegedly took a picture of a pile of cash with $100 and $50 bills, writing: “I zipped em for 5K. Money Well Spent,” followed by laughing emojis. That post has since been deleted.
According to the Democrat-Gazette, Miller has previously been arrested for various charges, including aggravated robbery related to the fatal shooting of another teen four years ago, as well as charges of attempted robbery, identity theft, and possession of a weapon.
John Johnson, the chief deputy prosecuting attorney for Pulaski County, declined to comment when asked about Miller’s past alleged criminal offenses.
“What I can tell you is that we’re going to do everything to be sure, first of all, that if we’re able to get a conviction, that it’s something that sticks,” Johnson told the newspaper, adding that prosecutors “don’t want to be trying our case in the press.”
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