Transgender Awareness Week is a mix of emotions — a celebration of progress, but also a call for change as trans rights are continually trampled. The week closed with Transgender Day of Awareness on Nov. 20, a solemn time to recognize the deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people.
Murders of people in the community have escalated at an alarming rate. The Human Rights Campaign keeps an up-to-date list of murders of trans and gender-nonconforming people around the country — this is where we got most of the names for this story. At the time of publication, for 2023, HRC has tracked at least 25 deaths. In 2022, at least 41 were killed.
In their memory, OutSFL looked into the murders of transgender and gender-nonconforming people in Florida since 2015. Many are unsolved, but we are pleased to see more progress made year over year with arrests made and the accused going to trial.
Often, news reports, police and even family and friends will misgender and dead-name transgender and gender non-conforming people. We will be using pronouns and names that the HRC shares in its reports.
Kristina Gomez Reinwald
Killed Feb. 15, 2015
Reinwald, also known as Kristina Grant Infiniti, was found dead in her home in Miami and police originally ruled the 46-year-old’s death a suicide, according to the Miami New Times. However, after further investigation, the Miami-Dade Police classified it as a homicide case. Friends believed that the suspect was her boyfriend. In 2021, the director of LGBTQ and concierge services at UHealth Hospital and Clinics at the University of Miami, Lauren Foster, called for justice for Reinwald in an op-ed for the Advocate. The Miami-Dade Police Department tells OutSFL that the case is still open.
Killed July 21, 2015
Clarke, 25, was found dead with bullet wounds to the back of her head and upper arm; according to the Tampa Bay Times. Assistant State Attorney Ronald Gale called the killing “execution style” and said that there was evidence of a struggle. Keith Gaillard, then 18, was arrested for the murder and after five years in the court system, he was acquitted in 2021 as lawyers said there wasn’t enough proof that he killed Clarke. A condom with his DNA was found in the back of her car, he had scratches on his neck after the incident, and friends said he carried the same type of weapon used to kill her.
Killed May 15, 2016
The 32-year-old was an active member of the LGBT community and known for her drag performances and makeup skills. Successful was found shot to death in a parking lot in Haines City, with her pockets turned inside out and text messages between her and a man regarding drugs and a possible sexual encounter, according to WFLA. A year later, two men were arrested for their involvement in the murder — Re’shaunte Jermaine Anglin, 18, was charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and tampering with evidence. Ray Leon Walker, 22, was charged with accessory after the fact and tampering with physical evidence. In 2019, Anglin was sentenced to 27 years in prison.
Chayviss “Chay” Darice Reed
Killed April 27, 2017
Reed, 28, was shot and killed in the West Little River neighborhood of Miami. Surveillance footage from a neighbor’s home captured Reed running across the street, six to seven gunshots going off, then she collapsed in the middle of the street, Local 10 reports. The Miami-Dade Police Department tells OutSFL that the case is still open.
Killed Dec. 16, 2017
The 51-year-old was shot to death by her wife, Jessica Winkler, who is also transgender, in their Englewood home after a dispute. Her body was found in the bed of the couple’s pick-up truck, and police found that Winkler was planning on burying her wife’s body on their property, according to the HRC. She later called 911 and was charged with second-degree murder and tampering with evidence. Winkler pleaded guilty in 2019 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Killed Feb. 4, 2018
Walker, 36, was found shot to death in a Jacksonville extended stay, according to News4Jax. Advocacy groups came forward demanding a change in how police handle murders of trans people, as she was originally misgendered and deadnamed. She also went by the name Erika. In September 2019, Sean Bernard Phoenix, 21, was arrested and charged with her murder. According to Metro Weekly, the two had a “previous relationship” and after the murder, he sold the weapon used. The Florida-Times Union reported that in October 2020, Phoenix pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Walker was the first of four trans women to be killed in Jacksonville in 2018.
Killed June 1, 2018
English, 38, was found shot between two buildings and later died at a hospital in Jacksonville. Before she died, she was able to tell police that the person who shot her was wearing a gray hoodie, according to Action News Jax. A regular performer at Incahoots Nightclub for nearly a decade, friends planned a vigil in her honor. She also went by the name Antonia and was buried in Georgia. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office tells OutSFL that her case is still an active, ongoing investigation.
Cathalina Christina James
Killed June 24, 2018
The South Carolina native, 24, was shot to death at a Jacksonville hotel, according to WLXT. Her mother told the media that her daughter loved traveling, which was why she was in Florida at the time. She also described her as a bold personality who was always at the center of attention. Being the third trans woman killed in Jacksonville in a matter of months, LGBTQ Nation asked: does the city have a serial killer? The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office shared a sketch of a suspect in question two months after James’ murder. Her case is still an active, ongoing investigation.
Killed July 19, 2018
Originally from Wisconsin, Garden, 27, was found dead in the parking lot of an Orlando apartment complex. According to Orlando Weekly, her home was a haven for sex workers, as she often handed out condoms, water bottles, and helped with HIV testing. She was also a sex worker, and it was believed she may have been killed while she was working. The Orange County Sheriff’s office tells OutSFL that there have been no arrests made in the case, but that the investigation is still open. “Detectives would welcome any new information or leads in this case,” a representative said.
Killed July 19, 2018
The 30-year-old queer person and drag performer was found stabbed to death in their Jacksonville apartment; the gun was found in the doorway and their car and wallet were missing, according to First Coast News. A few days after the murder, Sumlar’s car was found burned, and their bank card had been used at multiple ATMs. Using surveillance footage, fingerprints and shoe prints, police arrested Omar Lewis, who denied knowing Sumlar. Lewis pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and, according to court records, he has another hearing at the end of the month.
Killed Sept. 15, 2018
The 20-year-old Port Charlotte resident was found dead in a remote area outside of North Port with multiple gunshot wounds; her car was found in another location the next day, The Advocate reports. In December 2018, Juan Jose Salazar-Diaz was arrested when his DNA was found in Moore’s car; texts show the two knew each other prior to the shooting death. He was charged with second degree murder, Grand Theft Auto, and possession of a firearm by a felon; he has pleaded not guilty. According to court records, multiple jury trials have been canceled over the years and his next is scheduled for February 2024.
Ellie Marie Washtock
Killed Jan. 31, 2019
Washtock, who was gender-nonconforming, was shot and killed in St. Augustine; they were found dead by their teenage son. Beyond the case being a tragedy, the public was also wary of the case because Washtock was looking into the 2010 murder of Michelle O’Connell, a single mother in neighboring St. Johns County whose death was originally labeled a suicide. O’Connell’s mother told the media that she believed Washtock was killed because of their investigation. The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office told OutSFL the investigation is still open. “We have had no leads or tips, which is rare in a case like this. Someone knows or heard something. We need that person to come forward,” a representative said.
Killed July 31, 2019
Fantroy, 21, was shot and killed in south Miami-Dade County after turning down a proposition for sex, according to NBC 6. Then, as Local 10 reports,17-year-old William Watson opened fire on the group Fantroy was walking with, then chased after her and shot her to death. He was arrested on another charge, then confessed to the murder. He was charged as an adult for second-degree murder, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2021.
Bee Love Slater
Killed Sept. 4, 2019
Slater, 23, was found burned “beyond recognition” in a car in Clewiston; her best friend told WINK News he believed that Slater was killed because of her gender identity. Marcus Lynell Thompson was arrested in Dec. 2021 and later charged with her murder in Feb. 2022. Thompson has been charged with Accessory After the Fact – First Degree Murder and Accessory After the Fact – Arson. Both are third-degree felonies. Before the arrest the FBI and Sheriff’s office had offered cash rewards for information relating to the case.
Killed May 27, 2020
The 38-year-old was shot and killed by Tallahassee police after he was accused of stabbing to death his girlfriend’s son that same morning. Police say that McDade was armed and “made a move consistent with using the firearm against the officer.” The police officer’s name has not been released.
Killed July 3, 2020
Over the Fourth of July weekend, Black, 27, was shot and killed outside her Pompano Beach home. Even with the streets filled with people for the holidays, no witnesses have come forward with information on her killer. A month after her murder, Sheriff Gregory Tony called on the community to share whatever information they had with police. The case is still open and there is a reward for up to $10,000 by CrimeStoppers.
Clio Kalliope Addison
Killed July 16, 2020
The 20-year-old, who was nonbinary, got into an altercation in North Miami with their partner, Bernard St. Pierre, which ended in Addison being shot and killed. Surveillance video showed that Addison slapped Pierre in the face, then punched him with brass knuckles that had a taser attached. St. Pierre then shot towards Addison. A few weeks later, prosecutors dropped the charges against St. Pierre, citing the “stand your ground” defense, NBC 6 reports.
Killed Nov. 4, 2020
Little is known about this case other than the 20-year-old was shot and killed in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood, according to The Advocate. Miami-Dade Police are investigating Heath’s death as a homicide, and the case is still open; OutSFL awaits an update from law enforcement on the case.
Yunieski Carey Herrera
Killed Nov. 17, 2020
The 39-year-old beauty queen was stabbed to death by her husband, Ygor Arrudasouza, in Miami. He said that the two were arguing, and he was under the influence of meth when he killed Herrera with a fork and knife in the middle of Transgender Awareness Week. Arrudasouza was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and aggravated battery. A hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 28, 2023.
Killed Feb. 4, 2021
Braxton, a hairstylist who also went by the name Kimmy Icon, was found dead in her Miami bedroom in what police called a “violent and vicious attack.” The Miami-Dade Police shared surveillance footage of a person of interest, who was wearing a black zip-up track sweater over a white shirt and black pants. The Miami-Dade Police Department tells OutSFL that the case is still open.
Killed May 1, 2021
A relative found the 49-year-old’s body outside their Clearwater home and called 911, according to the Tampa Bay Times. A week later, Washington’s long-time partner, Hadeeka Shabazz (also known as Arthur Benjamin, Jr.), confessed to slamming her head against a light pole during an argument. He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. A jury trial has been scheduled for February 2024.
Royal Poetical Starz
Killed Oct. 2, 2021
A resident of Pompano Beach, the 26-year-old was found gunned down inside of her Hummer in Miami Gardens — family says that she was shot in the face and then another 20 times in her body. Starz’s body was returned to Omaha, Nebraska, to be buried close to her family. The singer earned her business degree from Florida Career College vocational school in July. In December 2021, Duvon Russell, Jr., 28, was arrested in Polk County on unrelated charges with extradition paperwork to Miami-Dade County for second-degree murder. He is still incarcerated in Polk County.
Jenny De Leon
Killed Nov. 2, 2021
The 25-year-old’s body was found outside a home in the Tampa neighborhood of Sulphur Springs. De Leon was an active member of her local PFLAG group, who said that she was an “enigmatic, bright soul.” In March 2022, Damien Marshall, 41, was indicted with two counts of first-degree murder against De Leon and a second woman, Linda Harris, when DNA connected him with both of their bodies. In the case of Harris, her body was found in a home that was preparing to be demolished. Marshall has a hearing on Dec. 18, 2023.
Killed Jan. 3, 2022
The 24-year-old was shot and killed in Jacksonville. On March 4, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrested Keith Keglar Jr., 21, for murder in the second degree. He pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial; Duval Princess’ parents said they did not know Keglar. She was the eldest of 10 children and served as a parental figure to her younger siblings. She was also well known in the local LGBT community and made a name for herself creating wigs and weaves, according to Action News Jax. Keglar had a pretrial hearing earlier this month.
Nedra Sequence Morris
Killed May 14, 2022
Affectionately called Sequenced by those who loved her, the 50-year-old was found dead in the streets of Opa-Locka. In her honor, more than 100 loved ones gathered at the spot where her body was found to mourn, releasing teal balloons. In May 2023, Cornelius Bailey was charged with second-degree murder and tampering with evidence for Moss’ murder. He was already in prison on a burglary charge. According to court records, Bailey has an Arthur hearing on Dec. 11, 2023, meaning he has requested bond on a capital felony case.
Killed Sept. 21, 2022
Billingslea, 33, was shot and killed in a Jacksonville parking lot. Action News Jax reports that the area he was killed in has been plagued with crime, and that police have been called out to the area at least 441 times in 2021. Billingslea’s father, Tahlmage, called his son the life of the party and that he was “so loved.”
Killed Oct. 1, 2022
Banks, who was described as a “sociable and beautiful butterfly” by the Human Rights Campaign, was killed in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood. The Miami-Dade Police Department arrested Larry Sam Pierre Louis days after the murder, and he was charged with murder in the second degree with a weapon. He has a hearing scheduled for January 2024.
Killed July 21, 2023
Rider, a 21-year-old pregnant trans man, was murdered by his partner outside his Winter Haven home on July 21. Rider and his 26-year-old fiancé, Riley Groover, got into a fight, and he was killed when Groover shot him multiple times. Groover then turned the gun on himself and died by suicide. At eight months pregnant, Rider’s unborn baby did not survive.
Killed Oct. 23, 2023
The 26-year-old was shot and killed in Miami by a man who friends and family believe is her ex-boyfriend, who is at large. Local 10 reports that Anthony Peyton, Jr. was kicked out of his family’s home when they discovered he was dating a trans woman and the two were living together. After her death, loved ones gathered to release pink, white and gold balloons in a candlelit ceremony. Price’s aunt told the HRC that her niece would “give you the shirt off her back.” Peyton ran off after the shooting but was located in Broward County and arrested on Oct. 31, 2023. He has been charged with second-degree murder with a weapon.
If you have information on any of the open cases above, contact your local or county police agency. There are also anonymous tip lines, such as Crime Stoppers and Crimeline, in various communities.
All courtesy photos.