In 2020, hundreds of transgender deaths were reported. Experts now predict that 2021 will out beat last year’s numbers. Unfortunately, most transgender or non-binary deaths happen to minorities, in particular the black community
Last Saturday, a black transgender woman by the name of Taya Ashton was murdered inside her Suitland apartment in Maryland. Since the news of her death, Ashton has been deemed the 31st victim of a violent anti-trans crime this year in the United States. Fortunately, police have someone in custody suspected of murder. Ashton’s family has since held a vigil service in her honor.
In the wake of her death, Human Rights Campaign Associate Director of the Transgender Justice Initiative Lindsey Clark released a statement that would hopefully inspire swift justice.
“She was just at the beginning of her life—a life that she deserved to live to her fullest.” Taya Ashton was only 20-years-old when she passed. Unfortunately, the woman’s life was cut short.
On July 18 at 9:55pm, the Prince George’s County Police Department responded to the report of gun shots fired on 2300 Block of Brooks Drive, near Sussex Square Apartments where Ashton had been residing. Authorities arrived on the scene to find the 20-year-old transgender woman suffering from a bullet wound in her apartment. She was soon pronounced dead. Despite her untimely death, authorities have allegedly identified Ashton’s killer.
At first, reports claimed that police had no possible suspects. Fortunately, authorities caught the suspect within precisely a day. Sources reported that a 27-year-old man named DeAllen Price was arrested and charged with killing Ashton over the weekend.
A day after her murder, Arlington County Police caught Price fleeing away over the Metro tracks at the Pentagon City Station. Furthermore, Metro Transit Police and K9 officer discovered the murder weapon used during Ashton’s death. Not only did DeAllen Price have the murder weapon, he also had shared relations with Taya Ashton.
The Washington Blade confirmed that the murder victim and suspect had a “sexual relationship.” Ashton’s family provided further evidence to the publication’s claim, noting that there’d been no sign of forced entry. They suggested that she knew her attacker. Price himself revealed to the Washington Blade that “he’d been very intimate with Ashton and knew her for three months.”
Shockingly enough, he further disclosed that he’d been inside the apartment and shared intimate relations with Ashton at the time of murder. Apparently, Price’s admission was enough to convince the Washington Blade that he’d shot and killed Ashton in cold blood. Although, the document doesn’t reveal if Price outright admitted to murdering the transgender woman. It also gives no indication that Price ever denied to killing her, either.
Nonetheless, he has several charges against him. So far, Price has been charged with first-and-second-degree murder. Additionally, police charged him with possession of a handgun and use of a firearm in a felony. Though, the murder of Taya Ashton, wasn’t Price’s first criminal offense. On the day of his arrest, police had pursued Price in Virginia for unrelated robbery charges.
Currently, the alleged murderer remains in the custody of Arlington Police County in Virginia, waiting for his extradition to the Prince George’s Police Department in Maryland.
At this time, police have no plausible motives behind Taya Ashton’s unjustly murder. Though, they do believe it wasn’t just a random kill. Ashton’s family has even suspected that Ashton’s murder was a result of a “hate crime.” However, authorities can find no evidence to support her family’s claims.
Aston’s family decided to hold a gathering to honor her. Ashton’s grandmother, Robin McKinney, released a statement on Facebook on Monday, telling community members that a vigil candlelight service will be held at her death site. “I would be honored to have you come out to support my family,” McKinney wrote on Facebook.
According to trans activist Earline Budd, more than 200 people attended Wednesday’s ceremony held at River Terrace Park in D.C. Ashton’s with friends, family, and community leaders . Along with trans activist Earline Budd, other major leaders in the LGBTQ+ community attended the ceremony such as Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy and D.C Council member Trayon White. Afterward, attendees drove in a caravan to Ashton’s apartment building in Suitland. In addition to the vigil candlelight service, Ashton’s family also held a balloon release in light of her death.
Now that the police have a prime suspect in custody, hopefully Taya Ashton and her family receive the justice they deserve.