- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2016

LUCEDALE, Miss. (AP) - A George County man has been indicted on a new first-degree murder charge in the killing of a transgender teen.

WLOX-TV reports (http://bit.ly/28SlltK ) a grand jury indicted 28-year-old Josh Vallum on a charge of deliberate design murder in the December death of 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson, born Michael Wilkins, of Theodore, Alabama.

Vallum initially faced a first-degree murder charge. The new charge means Vallum allegedly beat the teen with the intent to kill her.

The Sun Herald reports (http://bit.ly/28RvumZ ) authorities served Vallum with the new indictment Thursday, shortly before a pre-trial hearing was set to begin. He’s been in custody on a $1 million bond since his June 2, 2015, arrest - the day Williamson’s body was found buried in a field behind Vallum’s father’s home in the Rocky Creek community.

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