Sterling Heights Baptist pastor Albert Weathers, 46, was arraigned Monday for the murder of Detroit transgender activist Keanna Mattel. The murder which had previously thought to be the result of a robbery gone bad might, in fact, be a hate crime.
Albert Weathers, pastor of The New Mt. Olive Primitive Baptist Church and more recently Logos Baptist Church is charged with open murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The 36th District Court set bond at $1 million according to The Detroit News.
Investigators won’t reveal a motive or other details surrounding the murder, but a source told 7 Action News that after the shooting, Weathers fled the scene, clocked in at work at the Great Lakes Water Authority, and then called police an hour after the shooting to say that someone tried to rob him and that he shot someone.
Weathers lives in Sterling Heights and a woman who answered the door at his home declined to comment.
Someone who knows Weathers, but wished to remain anonymous, told 7 Action News that he’s married with children and that he rents space in a local church for his small congregation.
The County Prosecutor’s Office assigned the case to Special Prosecutor Jaimie Powell Horowitz from the Fair Michigan Justice Project, a collaboration between the Prosecutor’s Office and Fair Michigan Foundation Inc. The foundation helps state law enforcement officers and prosecutors in solving crimes against people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
“This case reflects the excessive brutality that members of Detroit’s transgender community constantly face,” said Fair Michigan president Dana Nessel, the state’s incoming attorney general, in a statement. “We thank the Detroit Police Department for their efforts to investigate the facts of this tragic crime.”