Grieving friend Jeanie Miller lamented through tears how 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson always said goodbye by saying “Love ya later”. The last that Miller saw her was at May 30th when she left their Alabama home saying she was going over the bay to Gulf Shores.
The investigation began when a 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.
The Sun Herald, bless their hearts went to Alabama and spoke to several people who knew Mercedes Williamson. They reported. “At the time of her death, Mercedes was living with Jeanie Miller, 41, in a one-bedroom camper they rented for $50 a week off Greer Road in Theodore. Mercedes slept on a couch in the front of the camper, and Miller slept in a bedroom in the back. Miller said she thought of Mercedes like a daughter and loved her as such.”
“I was overprotective because she was closer to me than my own daughter,” she said. “She always said ‘I have two moms, two Momma Jeanie’s.’ She wanted to be cosmetologist one day.” Mercedes’ mother, Jeannie Garner, could not be reached for comment.
Shortly after the remains were found, Miller learned Vallum had been charged in her killing. Vallum, she said, knew Mercedes as transgender long before her death.
A comment left by a well-intentioned cisgender person on the Sun Herald article needs to be addressed.
In 2008, trans woman Angie Zapata was brutally murdered by gang member Alan Andrade who tried to use the time-tested panic defense to mitigate his crime. This was the first trial in the nation to get a conviction for a hate crime involving a transgender victim but is was clear to everyone from the beginning that Andrade didn’t experience “Transpanic”.
Andrade murdered Angie because he panicked, fearing gang members might find out he had sex with a transgender women. He was in fear of his own life. Andrade was convicted after two hours of deliberation by the jury. Read the North Western.edu article and educate yourself. “TransPanic” is no longer an acceptable defense.
RIP Mercedes Williamson and Angie Zapata, Love ya later.