Arrest made in murder of trans woman

Arrest made in murder of trans woman

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A transgender woman was killed on Monday in North Philadelphia.

Londyn Kiki Chanel, 21, was stabbed inside an abandoned home in the 2200 block of Ingersoll Street. Chanel was stabbed twice in the back and once in the neck around 12:40 a.m.

Raheam Felton, 31, was arrested later that day and charged with murder and possession of an instrument of crime. Felton was denied bail and will face a preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. June 3 in Room 306 of the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert St.

Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel, the department’s LGBT liaison, said Felton and Chanel knew one another and lived in the abandoned house with two other transgender women, one of whom was Felton’s partner.

The stabbing took place in a third-floor bedroom after an argument that Bethel said may have arisen from a domestic dispute.

“There was some conflict, some allegation, between Londyn and the offender and he stabbed her repeatedly, which resulted in her death,” Bethel said. “The was not an issue where the decedent was killed because she was transgender.”

Felton flagged down School District authorities outside the house while he performed CPR on the woman, and they contacted police. Chanel later died at Hahnemann University Hospital.

Felton has confessed to the crime, Bethel said.

Cameron Kline, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s office, said a special prosecutor has been assigned to the case.

Nellie Fitzpatrick, the city’s director of LGBT affairs, said the response from law enforcement to the murder was “strong, swift and representative of change.”

There remain a number of unsolved homicides of transgender women of color in Philadelphia, and Chanel was the latest in a number of murders of trans women across the country this year.

“The senseless, violent and rampant loss of life in our trans communities must stop,” Fitzpatrick said. “There are many factors at play here, ranging from providing real and meaningful opportunity for our trans communities to succeed in society to advancing cultural change throughout our nation as well as work to stop the violence faced by the trans community, disproportionately transgender women of color.” 

Initially, Chanel’s gender was mis-reported by other media outlets, although they did issue retractions.

“GALAEI’s TransHealth Information Project is calling on all media sources and police to stop naming and genderizing individuals until proper, accurate and respectful identification can be made,” said Naiymah Sanchez, a TIP coordinator.

Chanel was a participant at a TIP empowerment course, which Sanchez oversaw.

“Londyn was a beautiful, very outgoing, funny young lady,” Sanchez said. “She always tried to remain positive and was focused on completing her transition.”

Sanchez said Chanel, a native of Texas, was looking for a full-time job and was just a few weeks away from finalizing her name change through Mazzoni Center’s legal-services department.

“She attended the Philly Trans March last year. It was inspirational to see her, just 21 years old, and other trans youth,” Sanchez said. “She wanted change.”

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