'Whoever did this, I hope God don't have mercy on your soul'
The Halloween shooting death of Candace Towns marked Bibb County’s 23rd homicide. She was also the 23rd transgender person to be slain in America so far this year, according to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
The 30-year-old’s body was found late afternoon Oct. 31 at the end of a driveway in the 1500 block of Rosecrest Avenue, not far from downtown Macon.
She had been shot in the left side of her face, according to a Bibb County sheriff deputy’s report. A shell casing was found between her legs. Towns had been staying at the Rodeway Inn off Eisenhower Parkway, about six miles west of where her body was found.
Authorities could not say when Towns died, but she was last seen alive before dawn Oct. 29.
Surveillance video at the hotel, on Romeiser Road just off Interstate 475, captured images of Towns getting inside a tan or gold sedan, possibly a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. A black man at the wheel is being considered a person of interest in the slaying.
Friends told The Telegraph that they had plans to go to the Crazy Bull bar downtown the night of Oct. 28.
“She wanted me to come link up with her, but I didn’t ever come out. I wish I would have,” Malaysa Monroe said of her longtime friend.
Towns had been attacked in the same neighborhood years before her death.
In 2009, she was shot in the ankle on Pebble Street, a block or two from where her body was found in between a blighted house and a burnt one.
No one was ever charged in the assault.
So far, there is no evidence Towns’ gender was a motive for the killing, the sheriff said at a news conference Thursday.
However, when it comes to antitransgender violence, victims are “overwhelmingly transgender women of color who live at the dangerous intersections of transphobia, racism, sexism, and criminalization which often lead to high rates of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness,” according to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s website.
GLAAD, an organization founded in 1985, aims to promote fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media, “as a means to build a culture that embraces full acceptance of the LGBT community, thereby eliminating homophobia, transphobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation,” according to its website.
Last year was the deadliest year on record for transgender people in America. The death toll reached 27, and nearly all of the victims were transgender women of color, according to a report from The Advocate. There were 21 transgender women killed in America in 2015, GLAAD reported.
The annual totals do not account for people whose deaths were not reported due to misgendering by law enforcement, in news stories and sometimes by the victim’s family.