Metro Weekly

Maryland Man Sentenced to 48 Years for Killing Trans Woman

DeAllen Price, who pled guilty to fatally shooting Taya Ashton in her apartment, has been sentenced to 48 years in prison.

Taya Ashton (left) – Photo courtesy of Earliner Budd; DeAllen Price – Photo: Prince George’s County Police Department

A 29-year-old has been sentenced to 48 years in prison for the 2021 slaying of a D.C.-area transgender woman.

DeAllen Price, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder and “use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence” back in October for shooting 20-year-old Taya Ashton in her Suitland apartment upon learning of her gender identity.

At a press conference about Price’s sentencing, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy said that he and Ashton had known each other and had been involved in an “intimate relationship” ahead of the shooting.

As reported by NBC Washington, the day after Ashton’s murder, Arlington County police arrested Price for running from officers and trespassing on the Metro tracks at the Pentagon City station.

Metro Transit Police and a K9 officer searched the tracks and found a weapon that was later linked to Ashton’s killing.

According to charging documents, detectives had uncovered phone conversations between Ashton and Price on the night Ashton was murdered. Following his arrest, police were able to link a Gucci bag Price had in his possession to the description of a bag missing from Ashton’s home. 

It was initially unclear what the alleged motive for the killing was, although several community advocates suggested that Ashton’s transgender identity was a factor.

But at sentencing, Price admitted to being involved with Ashton, and shooting her in after an argument that escalated from the discovery that Ashton was transgender, according to Braveboy and Assistant State’s Attorney Sherrie Waldrup.

Waldrup added that Price and his defense attorney suggested at the sentencing hearing that the shooting was unintentional, which Waldrup said she did not find credible, reports The Washington Post.

“It’s horrifying, it’s unacceptable,” Waldrup said of Price’s actions at the press conference. “It is certainly not an excuse or justification for what happened to Taya.”

“Taya’s death was a real tragedy for our community, as well as for her family,” Braveboy added. “Her death represents so much more, in terms of our level of tolerance in our community for people who want to express themselves and live their lives on their own terms. Anyone who chooses to do that should be respected and [know] that their lives are as valuable as anyone else’s life.”

According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 47 transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals in the United States were killed in an act of violence in 2021. Last year, that number reached 32, although estimates may undercount the true number of violent deaths due to trans individuals either being closeted, or being misgendered by police and media outlets following their deaths.

People of color accounted for 84% of trans and gender-nonconforming people killed in 2023, with Black trans women becoming the primary victims in half of all total cases.

Renee Lau, of Baltimore Safe Haven, a nonprofit serving Black transgender women and members of the LGBTQ community, told the Post that trans people are disproportionately affected by violence. 

“The murder rate, the suicide rate and the deaths because of overdoses in our community reaches greater numbers because of the fact that we are such a small community,” Lau said.

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