An Arkansas man has been given a 50-year prison sentence for killing trans teenager Brayla Stone in 2020.
Stone was found dead in a car in Sherwood, Arkansas, on 25 June, 2020. She had been shot in the head just three weeks after her 17th birthday.
Trevone Hayse Miller, 20, was initially charged with capital murder – which carries a sentence of life in prison or the death penalty – but agreed to plead guilty to first-degree murder in exchange for the 50-year sentence.
The court heard that Miller and Stone had been in a relationship, and that Stone said she was going to make their relationship public. Prosecutors argued that Miller killed Stone in order to prevent people from learning about their relationship, a cover-up that stemmed from his fear of being perceived as gay for dating a trans girl.
Miller was previously implicated in another killing, that of a 17-year-old boy called Bryan Allen Thompson who was shot during a robbery in 2016. Miller and two other teens were charged with Thompson’s death, and the capital murder charge against Miller was dropped after he agreed to testify against the others.
Brayla Stone was misgendered even in death
After the body of Brayla Stone was found in a car discovered across a walking path in the Sherwood neighbourhood, confusion around who had been killed and what had happened was stoked by the police misgendering her in death.
Local media also deadnamed Brayla Stone, adding to the confusion. While the police and media misgendered and deadnamed her, a Snapchat user boasted that they had been paid $5,000 to kill her.
Calls for law enforcement and media to “say her name” subsequently echoed online against a backdrop of a reinvigorated Black Lives Matter movement.
Brayla Stone was one of 44 trans and non-binary Americans who were violently killed in 2020, the most in a single year since activists began keeping track.
This year, 34 trans and non-binary people have so far been violently killed. Those killed are overwhelmingly Black trans women like Brayla Stone.