A Michigan pastor was was sentenced to eight years in prison over the shooting death of a transgender woman in Detroit, as the victim's family delivered scathing impact statements.
Albert Weathers, 50, was sentenced last week for the killing of Kelly Stough, 36, in 2018. Weathers pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and a felony firearm charge earlier this year. A plea agreement with prosecutors allowed for a sentencing cap of eight years for the murder and two for the felony charge.
Weather Told Police He Shot Stough in Self-Defense
According to testimony, Stough's body was found around 6am on December 7, 2018. Following the shooting, Weathers went to his job in downtown Detroit where he worked as a security guard. About an hour later, he called the police to report the incident as a robbery.
Weathers, who was also the pastor of Logos Church in Detroit, told authorities he shot Stough in self-defense, though he also claimed the shooting was accidental. He initially told investigators, "I was protecting myself." But later claimed his weapon "went off by mistake."
According to Weathers, he grabbed his .40-caliber Glock only after Stough jumped into his car and demanded cash. He claimed he told her to leave the car, at which point Stough lunged at him with a sharp metal object.
Prosecutors argued the pastor knew Stough and had frequented the area where the shooting took place. The area is frequented by sex workers and their clientele.
Weather Frequently Solicited Sex from Trans Sex Workers
The precise motivation behind Weathers' shooting of the victim remains unclear. However, another trans sex worker testified during the trial that He frequented the area of Palmer Park for her services and the services of other sex workers, many of whom were also trans, as previously reported.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement Stough 'will not be forgotten. She mattered. We will continue to aggressively prosecute those who bring harm to this and other Wayne County communities.' She added Weathers' sentence is another step taken by her office to defend members of the marginalized transgender community
Lisa Lindsey, one of the assistant prosecutors who tried the case, said she remains unsure Weathers realized the severity of his actions.
"Even though he has pled guilty to this offense, I still do not believe based on the pre-sentence report and based on what I have listened to on the jail calls, that the defendant fully understands what he did on that morning."
Weathers remained stoic throughout the hearing and did not speak on his behalf. His attorney reviewed the facts of the case and the police report that followed before hearing from the judge.
The pastor will have until October 9 to turn himself in.