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Arrest Made in Murder of Texas Trans Woman

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Tuesday February 10, 2015

Texas police arrested a college football player on Jan. 29 in connection of the murder of a transgender woman who was killed just days before, local East Texas news station KTBS reports.

The body of Ty Underwood, 24, was discovered on Jan. 27 in Tyler, Texas - about 90-miles southeast of Dallas - after she was shot and killed in her car.

According to police, Carlton Champion Jr., who attended Texas College, and Underwood were allegedly either dating or in some kind of relationship. Authorities also believe he shot her near the school.

"We have electronic evidence that they were texting back and forth, communicating that they were going to meet up," Tyler police officer Don Martin told KTBS. "It was probably more of dating relationship and it appeared to be a short duration, this isn't something that's been going on for a long time."

Investigators found that Champion "was expecting sexual favors from Underwood that morning and found out she was transgender," KTBS writes.

Champion was arrested on Jan. 29 for a probation violation but police added a first-degree murder charge.

Police say they do not believe the murder was a hate crime because Underwood and Champion were in a relationship.

"The transgender community as with the other LGTBQ communities is subjected to violent crimes and it's important that this was investigated thoroughly and I'm glad someone has been arrested," president of the Longview PFLAG chapter, Vik Verma, told the news station.

Tyler police echoed similar statements.

"We're thankful that we found the person responsible and the investigation is still ongoing and continues and now it will be more in the DA's hand now that we have a warrant," Martin said.

Champion is currently being held on $1 million bail. The case will be turned over to the District Attorney who will present it to a grand jury.

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