Man pleads guilty in transgender teen's death

AP News
|
Posted: Jul 12, 2016 8:08 PM

LUCEDALE, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi man accused of killing a transgender teen has pleaded guilty to murder in county court Tuesday.

Josh Vallum entered the plea in the 2015 beating death of 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson, of Theodore, Alabama, who once considered him a boyfriend. Williamson, born Michael Christopher Wilkins, was killed and buried on property owned by Vallum's father in the Rocky Creek community.

Vallum's attorney, David Futch, told The Sun Herald (http://bit.ly/29voPxM ) he could not comment further because of an ongoing federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice to determine whether the killing was a hate crime. Federal agents were in the courtroom for the plea hearing.

Judge Robert Krebs sentenced Vallum, a member of the Latin Kings street gang, to life in prison.

___

Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com