- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

LUCEDALE, Miss. (AP) - A George County man accused in the murder of a transgender teenager is due in George County Justice Court on Wednesday for a preliminary hearing.

The Sun Herald (https://bit.ly/1LP2eKK ) reports that 28-year-old Joshua Vallum is held on a first-degree murder charge in the killing of 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson, a transgender girl from Theodore, Alabama, whose birth name was Michael Wilkins.

Vallum has been in custody since June 2, the day authorities found human remains under some brush on Vallum’s father’s property.

Authorities say Vallum told them the remains belonged to Williamson. Her identity was later confirmed through DNA analysis.

Mercedes is the ninth known transgender woman killed in the United States in 2015, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

The hearing had been set for Tuesday.

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

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