Man arrested over the death of Black trans woman Ashley Burton. She was just 37

A pictre of Ashley Burton, the trans woman who was murdered.

A man has been arrested in connection with the death of 37-year-old Black trans woman Ashley Burton, who died after being shot in the face at her apartment complex in the state of Georgia.

Atlanta police confirmed that 31-year-old Darius Mills faces charges of murder and armed robbery in relation to the death of Burton on 11 April.

It is alleged that Mills attempted to steal Burton’s phone before shooting her, broke into her apartment and took a second phone, Atlanta News First reported. He is currently be held in jail after being arrested for an unrelated crime.

The trans hairstylist was described as selfless and gentle by her cousin Ivory Carter, who told local news station 11 Alive that Burton had moved to Atlanta shortly before her death to continue her career and develop her skills as a makeup artist.

“She was a sweetheart. She wasn’t nasty, she wasn’t disrespectful, she just wanted to live her life,” Carter said. “She was very full of life. It was always smiles and laughs with us. 

“I just want justice for my cousin,” she continued. “I’m tired of these incidents with transgender women being pushed under the rug. We are human beings.” 

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At least 12 trans deaths recorded in the US in 2023

So far this year, the Human Rights Campaign has tracked the deaths of at least 12 transgender and gender non-confirming people whose lives have been lost through violent crime. 

On 7 January, Jasmine Mack, known as “Star”, was killed in Washington DC, becoming the first person in the US to fall victim to anti-trans violence in 2023.

Another of the trans lives lost was Koko Da Doll, the star of Sundance-award-winning documentary, Kokomo City

Doll, who was also known as Rasheeda Williams, was found with a gunshot wound on 18 April, in the south-west area of Atlanta.

The other trans people killed in the US this year are Ashia Davis, Banko Brown, Tasiyah Woodland, Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, better known as Tortuguita, Cashay Henderson, Maria Jose Rivera Rivera, Cache Imanitwitaho, known as Zachee, Unique Banks and KC Johnson. 

A report released ahead of Trans Day of Remembrance last year revealed that between the beginning of October 2021 and the end of September 2022, at least 327 trans and gender-diverse people had been killed around the world. 

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