Alabama DA seeks to add hate crime charges against Josh Vallum for the murder of transgender woman Mercedes Williamson.
Although Alabama doesn’t recognize gender identity as a protected class, prosecutors are attempting to add hate crime charges to present to the grand jury this summer.
Latin king gang member Josh Brandon Vallum told his father he had buried a body behind his house. Vallum senior reported that to the police who then found her partly decomposed body under some debris the next morning. Vallum has confessed and has been held since June 2nd, 2015 on capital murder charges.
Authorities did not initially identify Mercedes Williamson as a transgender woman until the South Mississippi newspaper Sun Herald went to Alabama to confirm her identity.
Vallum’s friends in Alabama told the Sun Herald he knew Williamson was transgender, and she had even considered him a boyfriend at one time.
Under Alabama state law, a hate crime is a crime committed against someone based on their “race, color, religion, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin or gender.”
Federal law defines a hate crime as a crime committed against someone or someone’s property because of bias against “race, religion, disability, ethnic orientation or sexual orientation.”
The Sun Herald reports that the state prosecutor has subpoenaed uncooperative Latin King gang members trying to get information on the gangs rules involving ‘homosexual acts’.
Vallum’s lawyers are trying to keep the jury from hearing Latin King gang members testimony.
It is our heartfelt hope that her friend Jeanie Miller finds some closure after the truth is revealed.