Authorities in Detroit have arrested and charged a man in connection with killing and dismembering a transgender teen in late October. Police believe Qasim Raqib killed 19-year-old Shelley Hilliard and burned her torso in retaliation for a drug sting, reports the Detroit Free Press.
Raqib was arraigned [and] charged with first-degree murder and mutilation in the death of Shelly Moore, 19, who also went by the names Michelle and Treasure. Law enforcement pursued Moore's case under her birth name, Henry Hilliard Jr.
Lyneice Nelson, Moore's mother, said Thursday that Detroit Police detectives told her they believe Raqib killed Moore because he thought Moore set him up in a drug sting with Madison Heights police. Nelson said Moore had agreed to help Madison Heights police after being arrested. Madison Heights police did not let Moore know Raqib had been released, Nelson said. "Now she's gone," Nelson said.
NNelson said she "was ecstatic, overjoyed," when she learned of Raqib's arrest last week just days after Moore's Dec. 5 birthday. "I'm still smiling on the inside. I know justice is working."
Raqib has plead not guilty.
Hilliard's charred body was discovered near a Detroit freeway on October 23. Nelson said that a cab driver took her daughter to a home where three men apparently ambushed her. Hilliard tried to call the cab driver for help when the line went dead.
Hilliard was recognized in Detroit during an event in observance of the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Bravo to Detroit Police Department for the speedy arrest and charges in the case. In addition to being at the greatest risk of violence, the murders of Black trans women are often unsolved. Black transgender women face "extreme discrimination and poverty", and are more than likely to suffer from violence, physical or sexual abuse, police brutality, HIV/AIDS and bullying, according to a first of its kind survey conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Black Justice Coalition.