I remember her murder well. Who could forget? A 19 year old trans woman of color is found decapitated, apparently immolated in a vacant lot. This gruesome murder occurred around the time that Mexican drug gangs were becoming known to burn alive informants and competition cisgender and transgender transgender alike sometimes just for the hell of it. So the news accounts that followed helped to cement that suspicion, at least in my stereotyping mind, that perhaps Shelley was involved with a drug deal gone bad.
But her mom, producer Natasha “T” Miller and director Dream Hampton believe Shelley’s murder was motivated by hate and they are out to prove it, with our help.
Jan 2012 UPI Reported that her “Murder may be revenge for drug sting”
“Qasim Raqib was charged in the Oct. 23 death of Shelley Hilliard, a 19-year-old transgender woman whose mutilated body was found on Detroit’s east side. Hilliard was allegedly caught with marijuana Oct. 20 when police said she could avoid arrest by setting up a drug deal, testimony Thursday in 36th District Court revealed, The Detroit News reported.”
“During Raqib’s preliminary examination, testimony showed, Hilliard used her cellphone to call Raqib, as police listened on speaker phone, and told him she knew of someone who wanted to buy $335 worth of cocaine and marijuana.”
“Raqib was arrested when he arrived at a Motel 6 in Madison Heights 20 minutes later, the News said.”
Testimony suggested Raqib called Hilliard on a prepaid cellphone two days after his arrest. Hilliard received a call to meet a man the next day at 1 a.m.
“Taxi driver Robert Mullen, who testified he took Hilliard on all her calls, said she told him she was worried about revenge by Raqib over the drug sting.”
After dropping her off, Mullen said, he got a call from Hilliard, who sounded afraid, and then heard what sounded like the phone dropping to the ground and it went dead.”
I want to know the truth, so I contributed to their kickstarter project TransParent; A Story of Loss in a Community Misunderstood. In any case, whatever, I want to reach out to Shelley’s mom as a sister trans woman with unconditional love and support.