Episode 61

Rita Hester and the Murders of Black Transgender Women in America

August 3, 2020   Tags: , ,
Apple Podcasts
In 1998, Rita Hester was murdered in her Boston apartment. Rita was active in the transgender community and her gruesome death inspired Transgender Remembrance Day—but her murderer is still out there. Paul and Billy investigate Rita’s case, and also shed light on the recent murders of Merci Mack, Shakie Peters, Brayla Stone, Bree Black, Draya McCarty, Remmie Fells and Riah Milton—seven transgender women found slain in June and July of 2020. So far, only one case has led to an arrest. We need to change that.

Rita Hester:
On the morning of November 28th, 1998, 34-year-old Rita had been with her best friend, Brenda Wynne. The two played racquetball and had made plans to watch figure skating the next day. 

Rita left Brenda’s at noon. At 4PM, Rita called another friend to say she was going to the Silhouette Lounge and asked the friend to come along. The bar was just around the corner from her Parkvale Avenue apartment in the Allston neighborhood. Rita had actually been there the previous night.

The friend was supposed to meet up with Rita around 7 PM at her apartment. But 48 minutes earlier a 911 call was placed. At 6:12 PM law enforcement received a call about a fight inside Rita’s apartment. It took seven minutes for officers to be dispatched. When they entered her apartment, Rita was still alive. She was on the floor, and had been stabbed multiple times. 

Somehow she managed to cling to life until the authorities arrived--The offender had stabbed Rita twenty times in the chest. Between the call at 6:12 to the time she reached Beth Israel hospital, over an hour had gone by. Rita passed away at the hospital from cardiac arrest due to her injuries.

No arrest has ever been made in Rita's case. 

Black Transgender Women Murders Since June 2020:

On June 9, Riah Milton was shot several times in Liberty Falls, Ohio in June. Riah was murdered during a robbery and two people have been arrested. 

The day before, the remains of Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells were found in Philadelphia. Both cases saw their respective law enforcements misgender and deadname them. Dominique’s remains were located floating in the water at Bartram’s Garden Dock and Community Boathouse. She had been stabbed multiple times and her legs were severed. 

The suspected murderer is named Akhenaton Jones. The police have an arrest warrant for him, but do not believe in the city of Philadelphia. He has still not been located. 

On June 30th, 22-year-old Merci Mack was shot in the parking lot of an apartment building in Dallas. No suspect has been identified.

There is also 17-year-old Brayla Stone from North Little Rock, Arkansas. Brayla’s body was discovered inside a vehicle on a walking path in Sherwood, Arkansas on June 25th. Since recording, Trevor Miller has been arrested for capital murder in Brayla's case. 

On July 1st, 32-year-old Shakie Peters was slain in Amite City, Louisiana. On July 3rd, 27-year-old Bree Black was found shot in Pompano Beach, Florida. There isn’t much to go on in the media for either case. Although law enforcement has said they have a person of interest for Shakie’s case.

There is another case out of Louisiana, but it hasn’t been ruled a homicide. Over July 4th weekend the body of Draya McCarty was discovered in Baton Rouge. Law enforcement has released no details on the case.

We need to find Akhenaton Jones. We need to find the killer of Bree Black, Merci Mack, and what happened to Draya McCarty. We know local newsrooms are hurting with layoffs, but bug them. Get loud. Ask them on social media why they aren’t digging deeper into these cases. 

And we need to find Rita Hester’s killer. Nearly 22 years is too long to wait for justice. Transgender Rememberance Day was created in her memory. Just think of the impact it would have in the press if a suspect could be identified. 

We also want you to visit the Trans Doe Task Force. Citizen detectives have had some of the best results identifying doe cases. See if you can find some of their identities.

If you have any information, please contact us.   


1. Do not name names publicly. Send everything to the police or to this page and we will forward to the police. 
2. Do not post side by side photos.
3. Do not contact any family members. 
4. Do not doxx each other and be civil. We all want the same thing. 

As tips come in, Jensen and Holes will work to verify them. If they look good, we will publish them here to try and get us closer to their names.