[image-1]Chesterfield County investigators say they’re closer to finding out who was responsible for the violent murder of 29-year-old transgender woman Sasha Wall.
Wall, who was found slumped over her steering wheel on a rural highway in Chesterfield County on the morning of April 1, is the eight known trans woman to have been murdered since the start of the year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
She was found to have been shot multiple times at close range in her neck and shoulder, according to The State.
Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks has confirmed that the FBI is assisting local law enforcement in analyzing cell tower data and phone records near the crime scene.
Brooks added that Wall’s family has provided a list of possible suspects, but that the case is not being investigated as a hate crime.
“Everything’s pointing to (the indication) it was a breakup-like argument,” Brooks told The State.
Wall, whose legal name still appeared in documents as Wendell Price, Jr., lived in a mobile home outside of Pageland.
Brooks misgendered Wall when speaking to Charlotte-based NBC affiliate WCNC. An online article parroted the sheriff’s description of the victim as a “crossdresser.”
“He is a crossdresser, and he was dressed and had makeup on and that kind of stuff, but whether that has anything to do with this case or not, we have no idea,” Brooks told the station last month.
Chase Glenn, a trans man and the executive director of Charleston’s Alliance for Full Acceptance, says that such intolerance is common in reports about violence against trans folk.
“Unfortunately, the epidemic of trans murders often doesn’t make the news—and when it does, our transgender family members are misgendered and reported under a different name,” he said in a statement. “Sasha Wall was a strong trans woman and we’re saying her name in hopes that change will come.”
According to a November report by the Human Rights Campaign, 2017 was the “deadliest on record” for the transgender community, with 28 known cases of fatal violence against trans men and women. Trans women constituted an overwhelming majority of the first 25 trans murders of 2017.
Of the 102 trans people who were victims of fatal violence from January 2013 to November 2017, 87 percent were people of color. More than half lived in the South, a region with the fewest legal protections for LGBT people across sectors such as housing, employment, education, and hate crimes.
Though Wall’s murder is the first known killing of a trans person since the HRC began keeping track in 2013, Palmetto State politics are known for being occasionally hostile to LGBT community.
Earlier this year, six Upstate state representatives introduced a bill to invalidate gay marriages by calling them “parody marriages.” At a political gathering on Monday night, a Republican running for Rep. Trey Gowdy’s seat in Congress questioned the validity of being transgender.
“You’re either a man or a woman — and if you’re confused, you’ve got an issue with mental illness,” said former state Sen. Lee Bright, according to the Greenville News.
It is estimated that 50 percent of trans people will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes according to the HRC. According to the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey by the Centers for Disease Control, 35 percent of straight, cisgender women experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime.
“The epidemic of violence against transgender people is an urgent crisis that demands the nation’s immediate attention,” said HRC president Chad Griffin in the report. “The unique and tragic stories featured in this report reflect the obstacles that many transgender Americans — especially trans women of color — face in their daily lives. It is crucial that we know these stories in order to combat the transphobia, misogyny and racism fueling this violence so that we can end this epidemic before it takes any more lives.”