Former soldier ‘stabbed transgender woman 24 times’

Anthony Michael Bowden, who faces life in prison if convicted of murdering transgender woman Erykah Tijerina

A former soldier on trial for murdering a transgender woman stabbed her 24 times with a chisel, a court in El Paso, Texas, has heard.

Anthony Michael Bowden, who served at the US Army post Fort Bliss in New Mexico and Texas, is accused of killing 36-year-old Erykah Tijerina in August 2016, according to the El Paso Times.

He will face up to life in prison if convicted of the murder, which allegedly took place at a residents’ building in El Paso.

An entrance to Fort Bliss, where Anthony Michael Bowden served before allegedly murdering transgender woman Erykah Tijerina

Anthony Michael Bowden served at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. (Joe Raedle/Getty)

On Wednesday (January 16), the court heard evidence from El Paso County deputy medical examiner Janice Diaz, who testified that the transgender woman had 24 stab wounds.

Diaz said Tijerina had wounds on her hands which could have been defensive wounds.

When questioned by defence lawyers, Diaz said she could “not definitively” say that they were defensive wounds.

Lawyers for Anthony Michael Bowden say he killed transgender woman in self-defence

Bowden’s lawyers have argued that the defendant killed Tijerina in self-defence, alleging that the transgender woman tried to blackmail him.

According to the El Paso Times, lawyers told the Texas court that Tijerina threatened to inform Fort Bliss officials about a sexual encounter she allegedly had with Bowden, and lie to them that Bowden was her pimp.

Tijerina had previously met with men and then tried to blackmail them, the lawyers claimed.

“I knew Erykah was blackmailing her clients. She would say she would tell their families if they didn’t pay.”

— Chyna Fierro

The defence lawyers also questioned Chyna Fierro, a transgender woman who told the court on Wednesday that she knew Tijerina for around 16 years.

She claimed Tijerina made the majority of her money as a prostitute, before testifying that she had heard stories about Tijerina blackmailing men if they didn’t pay, but had never talked to her about it.

In a statement to El Paso police, Fierro said: “I knew Erykah was blackmailing her clients. She would say she would tell their families if they didn’t pay.”

Bowden allegedly texted Fierro two weeks after Tijerina’s death in an attempt to meet up for sex.

Fierro told the Texas court that the former soldier messaged her on dating application Meet Me, saying: “DTF.”

The transgender woman said she responded, “wow,” before telling Bowden that he was being inappropriate, particularly because she was about to go to the rosary of a friend who was murdered.

Bowden reportedly replied, “I’m just a really horny guy,” before asking if he could meet Fierro another time.

She testified that she never met with the former soldier.

The court heard closing arguments on Thursday (January 17).