Former Pastor jailed for eight years for murder of Black trans woman Kelly Stough

Composite image of Albert Weathers and trans woman Keanna Mattel, named in some reports as Kelly Stough

A former Michigan pastor has been sentenced to eight years behind bars for fatally shooting a Black trans woman in Detroit, leaving her “in the street, discarded like trash”. 

Albert Weathers, 50, was sentenced on Friday (8 September) for the killing of 36-year-old Kelly Stough, whose body was found on 7 December 2018.

Stough has been remembered by loved ones as a “beautiful spirit” and a “sweet, caring individual”. 

Weathers, who was the pastor of Logos Church in Detroit, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and a felony firearm charge on 27 July. He accepted a plea agreement that capped his sentence. 

At the sentencing, Stough’s mum, Jessica Williams, said Weathers left her daughter “in the street, discarded like trash”. 

“She had the courage to withstand it all and live her truth her way with no excuses or regrets,” Williams said.

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“Unlike yourself, Weathers, you murdered my child to try and hide your shame and fear of who you really are.”

Stough’s grandmother told the pastor: “But I pray for God’s blessing on you. You know the word, you know what you’ve done. Ask forgiveness and I hope it comes.”

Weathers had previously worked as a pastor at Logos Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan.

Kelly Stough said police had ‘no sympathy for us’

Following the 2018 shooting, Weathers went to his job in downtown Detroit where he worked as a bodyguard, before calling the police to report the incident as a robbery. 

He claimed he shot Stough in self-defence and that it was accidental. He told investigators, “I was protecting myself” and that the 40-caliber gun “went off by mistake”. 

Weathers said he grabbed his gun after Stough got into his car and demanded cash. He claimed he told her to leave, at which point she lunged at him with a sharp metal object. 

Prosecutors argued that the pastor knew Stough and said he had often gone to the area – frequented by sex workers and their clientele – where the shooting took place. 

Stough had previously spoken about violence against trans people in the US, and the mistrust the community has towards police officers. 

“The police are unaware with our struggle, so they have no sympathy for us,” she told The Guardian in 2015, after the murder of 20-year-old trans woman Amber Monroe, who was also shot dead in Detroit.

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.

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