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A Missouri man has been charged with the murder of a transgender woman who was shot to death last week.
Charles Nelson, 28, of Springfield, has been charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with the slaying of 26-year-old transgender woman Dominique Lucious.
Last Thursday morning, around 7 a.m., Springfield police were dispatched to a home in the 900 block of North Main Avenue, where they found Lucious shot to death.
According to charging documents, police used information from witnesses, and text messages from Lucious’s phone to identify Nelson as a suspect. He was arrested Thursday night, according to the Springfield News-Leader.
Court documents say that Nelson and Lucious met on an online dating website and had arranged to meet up at Lucious’s apartment, where, prosecutors allege, Nelson fatally shot her.
According to charging documents, Nelson matched the description of the man witnesses saw at the scene of the shooting, and drives the same type of car witnesses reported seeing at the scene. Police claim they found blood on his shoes and a gun in his home matching a shell casing found in Lucious’s apartment.
Upon being taken into custody, Nelson initially agreed to speak with police and then asked to end the questioning. He is currently being held in the Greene County Jail without bond.
Prosecutors have not offered a motive for the shooting, at least publicly.
The GLO Center in Springfield, the local LGBTQ community center for the Ozarks region, issued a statement decrying Lucious’s murder.
“Trans women, particularly trans women of color, are disproportionately victims of violent crime,” the statement said. “This murder and the other senseless slaying of trans folks must be contextualized within the anti-trans rhetoric and actions taken by too many. It is 2021 and we must understand that trans rights are human rights.”
PROMO, the statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization for Missouri, mourned her death, writing in a Facebook post: “Our hearts are broken for Dominique, whose bright beautiful light was extinguished far too soon, and for her family facing this horrific tragedy.”
According to the Human Rights Campaign, which tracks the number of transgender, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary individuals who have been violently killed each year, says that Lucious is at least the 13th trans victim of violence this year.
Missouri House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield), released a statement mourning Lucious’s passing and slamming Republican legislative leaders for pushing bills that target the transgender community, including bills to ban transgender athletes from competing in sports based on their gender identity and deny gender-affirming care to transgender youth.
“The life of Dominique Lucious, cut tragically short, matters. Dominique’s friends and family are in my prayers,” Quade said, according to Springfield NBC affiliate KSHB.
“Anti-trans rhetoric fuels this violence and legislation targeting the trans and non-binary communities continues to be pushed by groups who dismiss the damages and dangers their ideology helps cultivate,” Quade continued. “Missouri should be a place where anybody can be their true self, without fear of violence or bigotry. We have far to go to ensure Missouri is a safe and welcoming place for every person, no matter how they identify, to call home.”
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