Man sentenced to 48 years for the murder of a Black trans woman in Maryland

A 29-year-old man has been sentenced to 48 years in prison for the murder of a trans woman he was in a relationship with in 2021 in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

The man, named as DeAllen Price, fatally shot Taya Ashton in her apartment in Suitland, Md., on 17 July 2021 after learning about her dead gender, prosecutors said.

Price, of Capitol Heights, Md., pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence in October 2023. 

The county state’s attorney Aisha Braveboy described the deceased victim Ashton, who was just 20 when she was killed, as “a daughter and a beloved friend to many”. 

“Taya’s death was a real tragedy for our community, as well as for her family. Her death represents so much more, in terms of our level of tolerance in our community for people who want to express themselves and live their lives on their own terms,” Braveboy said when announcing the sentencing against Price on 24 January. 

“Anyone who chooses to do that should be respected and [know] that their lives are as valuable as anyone else’s life.”

PinkNews has contacted a legal representative of Price at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender for a comment on the matter.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 32 transgender and non-binary people were fatally shot or killed by other violent means last year. Furthermore, 84 per cent of those victims were people of colour, while 50 per cent were Black trans women.

Renee Lau, a spokesperson from Baltimore Safe Haven, a non-profit wellness centre for Black trans women and LGBTQ+ community members, said that violence disproportionately affects trans people despite “touching the entire community”. 

“The murder rate, the suicide rate and the deaths because of overdoses in our community reaches greater numbers because of the fact that we are such a small community,” said Lau. 

At the time of her tragic death, Lindsey Clark, HRC Associate Director of the Transgender Justice Initiative, said: “Taya was just at the beginning of her life — a life that she deserved to live to its fullest.

“Black transgender women continue to be killed in this country, and this violence is unacceptable.”

If you or someone you know thinks they might be a victim of partner abuse, call The Network/La Red’s 24-hour hotline on 617-742-4911 (voice) or 800-832-1901 (Toll-Free) 24/7. The organisation provides confidential emotional support, information, referrals, safety planning, and crisis intervention for LGBTQ+ people, as well as those in kink and polyamorous communities.

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