Bil Browning

BREAKING: Arrest being made in Taysia Elzy case

Filed By Bil Browning | December 31, 2008 12:40 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Avery Elzy, Indianapolis, Michael Hunt, Taysia Elzy, transgender violence


I just got off the phone with a source in the Indianapolis Police Department. A suspect is currently being arrested in Ft. Wayne, Indiana of a suspect in the double homicide of Taysia Elzy and Michael Hunt. The source wouldn't give me a name or a motive, only that marshals were making the arrest as we spoke.

I'll update the details as I get them.

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Yes, great news. Doesn't bring back the victims, but hopefully now justice will be done. Here's to hoping the prosecutors hold out for capital murder charges and a possible death sentence for the perps.

I'm not a fan of the death penalty. I'd be a big ol' hypocrite to advocate it in cases involving LBGT victims.

But I'll risk it. I wanna see them fry.

Sure, perpetuate the notion that we simply eliminate those who we find offensive or just inconvenient.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | December 31, 2008 3:01 PM

I hope you give yourself the grace of second thought and return to your principles. I was once raped in the line of duty as a gay rights organizer and got a call in the middle of the night from someone I didn't know saying the equivalent that my attackers were dead. As they've never been seen or heard of since, I assume that's true and, while I certainly feel safer as a result, I also have carried for several decades guilt about the final outcome that, if I'd have had a say in it, I'd never have condoned.

The death penalty is no solution for the pain and anger of crime, believe me.

I agree with you on this, Marla.

The death penalty argument is almost certainly moot. Only under limited circumstances can the State seek the death penalty. As a practical matter, due to very high costs of a death penalty case, it is reserved in Indiana for very, very heinous acts (I am talking mutilation or torture murders, child murders, ect.) or the killing of a police officer.

See IC 35-50-2-9 for details.

As a practical matter, I would be concered about the mere conviction of the murderer. It's a tough road regardless, but let's hope the jury doesn't let their own personal feelings prevent a conviction.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | December 31, 2008 3:11 PM

I, too, am concerned about the quality of available justice for transgendered and other queer crime victims in Indiana -- both from the criminal justice establishment of police and prosecutors and the Hoosier jury pool. My New Year's toasts will be to eternal vigilence!

I hope that the prosecution is to the fullest extent of the law bearing the evidence in mind.

Christopher L. Conwell, 20, was arrested in connection with the murders of Avery Elzy, 34, and Michael Hunt, 22.

The bottom line for me is I want to see justice done whether it's by life in prison or the death penalty,

Too many folks that have killed transpeople over the years are still walking the streets.

It doesn't appear that Indiana law would permit death in this case, and that's a shame, because if the suspects are, indeed guilty of this crime, and it was carried out with premeditation, they should be standing trial for capital murder - in other words, I don't support the state laws that give officers and public officials importance over ordinary citizen, where felony assauts and murders are concerned.

It is time for the GLBT community to make it clear that tolerance of this sort of heinous, deliberate act is not acceptable. For instance, the 6 year sentence meted in the Gwen Araujo case was a tiny fraction of what should have been given, and T-related hate crime perpetrators tend to end up with jokes of jail sentences - as little as 18 months in a couple cases.

A consistent series of examples of "commit a hate crime, and you will fry" needs to be set, repeatedly, to have any effect at making these crimes unacceptable. It isn't about rehabilitation; those who commit murder are not people, they are rabid dogs that should be kennelled or euthanized for the protection of law abiding citizens.

That stated, if the evidence is there, please hold out for nothing short of a murder charge. This was not manslaughter, this was murder. Make sure this perp, if he indeed did it, is convicted and sentenced to jail for a couple forevers.

Janice Covington Allison | January 3, 2009 12:53 PM

Why are we the Hunted.

By Janice Covington Allison.

Why are we the Hunted? The answer can only be found in the minds of a rare but growing species of transphobic hunters that prey on us. Recent history has reflected this across our cities, especially in Memphis Tenn.

It seems its open season on the whole spectrum of transgender people. This includes Drag Queens, FTM, MTF, Fem Gays and more. None of us are immune to the violence one of theses vile creatures can inflict on us.

Killing us is on the rise. Its open season and no license required. We are being killed in the streets like dogs, and just recently the hunter has invaded our homes. Over the holidays a transgender, her significant other, and even their dog were killed in Indianapolis Indiana. Does this hunter exclusively prey on transgenders? Is there a new breed of killer, which thinks in their bigoted warped mind that we are an abomination that should be eradicated from society?

This trend is on the rise across our nation, but the tally of victims only reflects the deaths, which are reported as hate crimes. Unfortunately though, it is not a requirement of most city and State law enforcement officials to report these atrocities as a hate crime to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This will not be required until the Mathew Shepard Act is passed.

You can help stop this violence and maybe save a life. If you see a possible problem outside a club, restaurant or just on the street ask if they are ok or call the police if you are afraid and unsure, Its ok to be suspicious. That’s what 911 is for. Many of us have digital cameras with us when clubbing and out and about. Take a picture. This could be valuable to the police for identification of a suspect. There are many things you can do. These are just a few, but no matter what you do never look the other way!

In the early 1970’s in San Francisco, a very little known vigilante group called the Lavender Panthers patrolled the streets of the Tenderloin to protect Transvestites and Drag Queens from these ‘Jack the ripper’ style predators. The Lavender Panthers were made up of Drag Queens and Hustlers who patrolled with ball bats, chains and red spray paint. [Mace was against the law to carry] Since the police condoned violence and hate towards the Transgender and Gay Community, we had no protection. The Lavender Panthers attempted to provide this protection and were successful many times in foiling attempts of harm. I’m sorry to say that the Lavender Panthers, who braved the streets as rescuers, only lasted 4 years before being disbanded by the Police.

Did Huey Newton, Bobby Seals and the Black Panthers have the right Idea with their method of protecting the Black Community? History tells us the Black Panthers were formed as a Community group in order to protect the black citizens in Oakland California from racial discrimination and persecution by the police. They helped their community by feeding the poor and providing support in the face of ambivalent and even hostile authorities. In 1968 Elbridge Cleaver and several others were in a gun battle with police. When the men surrendered, Elbridge Cleaver came out with his hands raised high to the sky and the police shot him dead with twelve shots.

You may say as you read my comments, what can I do? Surprisingly there is a lot you can do. We don’t have to take up arms like our brothers and sisters of the Lavender Panthers of San Francisco, but we can still fight. We can fight with our reasoning and education. We can fight with non-violent protest. You can fight alone with education by educating your friends and neighbors about who you are. Show the people of the world you have integrity; that you are a valuable asset to the community regardless of your gender identity or presentation.

Community awareness is what its all about. Most states have a GBLT Equality organization. Make contact with them to see if you can help. They all have a day set aside called Lobby day. On this day you can go with them to speak to your legislators. You will be able to bring to their attention the need for the Anti-Bulling Act and a Hate Crimes Bill. If you are a member of a support group, bring it up at your next meeting. If you are alone and do not know anyone, google for a GBLT organization in your State and make contact.

In closing we must do something. We cannot sit still for this anymore, Please, for your sake and mine, and the future of our Society, act in your own way. You can make a difference. If you need my help, contact me [[email protected]]. I will be glad to come and speak to your group or help by phone.

Love you all,
Janice Covington,