A 19-year-old Arkansas man has been charged with capital murder in the slaying of transgender teenager Brayla Stone in June.
Trevone Hayse Miller, of Sherwood, Ark., is currently being held in the Pulaski County Jail without the possibility of bail. Police have not said what they believe to be the motive for the killing.
However, activists who circulated a petition calling for justice for Stone claimed that a user on social media, “tapnseason,” had reportedly bragged about killing Stone in exchange for $5,000. The post in question has since been deleted.
Stone, 17, was found dead in a vehicle parked on a walking path near Gap Creek Drive in Sherwood on June 25. She had been shot to death. Police arrested Miller a week later, alleging that he had killed Stone and attempted to cover up evidence of the crime.
According to police, witnesses told detectives that Miller had asked Stone to meet him, and was the last person to see her alive.
An arrest report claims that Miller spoke about killing Stone, before and after the time she was killed, but the report did not elaborate on the details of the investigation, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
If convicted on the capital murder charge, Miller could face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. The case is scheduled to be tried before Judge Barry Sims, of the 6th Circuit Court of Arkansas.
Miller was previously charged in the robbery and fatal shooting of a 17-year-old high school student in Sherwood in 2016, but those charges were dropped after he agreed to testify against two of his co-defendants.
In May 2019, Miller was arrested again and charged with robbery and second-degree criminal impersonation for allegedly attempting to rob two people in a Walmart parking lot in Little Rock by posing as a security guard. Less than a year later, he was arrested on a weapons-related charged before being released.
Stone is one of at least 27 transgender or gender-nonconforming people who have been killed in the United States in 2020.
Her death attracted large amounts of attention online, and has been held up by activists as an example of the violence that trans women, particularly trans women of color, can face.
Tori Cooper, the director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative at the Human Rights Campaign, said at the time of her death that Stone’s killing was evidence that society has failed to address anti-trans violence.
“As a nation, we failed Brayla — as we have failed every transgender or gender non-conforming person killed in a country that embraces violence and upholds transphobia, racism, homophobia,” Cooper said.
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