An 18-Year-Old Has Been Charged With the June Murder of Black Trans Woman Ashia Davis

Nine months after Black transgender nurse Ashia Davis was shot and killed in a Detroit hotel, Michigan state police have charged a teenager with her murder.

Carlos Lamar Scotland, 18, was arrested on March 12, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced at a press conference on Saturday. Scotland is charged with first-degree murder in Davis’ killing, as well as felony firearm possession, carrying a concealed weapon, and obstructing an officer; although he was 17 at the time of the killing, he has been charged as an adult, Worthy said. A probable cause conference — an administrative hearing for attorneys to discuss bail, plea negotiations, and other matters — is currently scheduled for March 26.

“It’s troubling on many levels,” Worthy told members of the press. “For people that are so young to commit violent crime, it’s all troubling.”

Davis, 34, was shot in Detroit’s Woodward Inn on the night of June 1, 2023, the first day of Pride Month. Her body was found the next day. Prosecutors on Saturday did not comment on further details of the case, including whether the alleged murder was motivated by hate, telling reporters they “do not want to jeopardize the case going forward.”

Special prosecutor Kam Towns of the Fair Michigan Foundation also addressed questions about the current climate of anti-LGBTQ+ violence, saying she feels such crimes have become “more brazen” in recent years.

“[T]hey don’t hide in the shadows as much as they used to, when they go after members of the LGBTQ+ community,” Towns said, adding, “there’s more of a target on their back, and people are responding to that in negative ways.”

Davis, who also spelled her first name “Asia,” was also known to some friends as “Charm,” according to The Detroit News. She had recently completed nursing school and was soon to start a new job, her family said. Davis was one of at least 35 trans and gender-nonconforming people killed in the U.S. in 2023, per data from Everytown for Gun Safety.

“Ashia Davis was a beautiful human being who deserves at a minimum to be alive today, sharing her cheerful spirit with us,” said Tori Cooper, community engagement director at the Human Rights Campaign’s Transgender Justice Initiative, following reports of Davis’ murder last year. “It’s beyond unacceptable that not nearly enough of those in power have spoken out against this inhumanity. We continue to call for justice – for Ashia and for all those we’ve lost without sufficient answers.”

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