India Clark’s friend Charles Thompson has mixed feelings about the arrest in the murder of his 25-year-old trans woman friend.
“I’m not glad, because (India’s) gone,” he said. “But I’m glad they did investigate it and her life mattered enough for them to try to find who harmed her.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, 18 year-old Keith Lamayne Gaillard was arrested Wednesday after turning himself in to local law enforcement.
The Sheriff’s Office said a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, rented by Clarke, was parked near her body. Inside, detectives said they found a used condom, scattered paperwork and a cigar wrapper with Gaillard’s fingerprint. They said DNA from the condom and from beneath Clarke’s fingernails were matched to Gaillard. He had a scratch on his neck, deputies said, that looked like it was inflicted during a fight.
A witness told detectives that the day after Clarke’s death, Gaillard told him, “I think I killed somebody,” and made reference to shooting the victim near Fletcher Avenue.
Detectives also combed Gaillard’s Facebook page, focusing on a photo that showed him pointing a revolver with duct tape wrapped around the handle. Investigators said the witness told them he had seen Gaillard with that gun, along with a tote bag he usually carries it in.
Another witness also identified Gaillard in the Facebook photo and said Gaillard sold him the gun for $50 on Sunday — five days after Clarke was found dead.
Gaillard’s own story is incredibly sad, but it doesn’t mitigate the fact that he took India’s life.
The media doesn’t even get an inch of sympathy for me in their ongoing insistence in misgendering India and using her old name. They seek refuge in the fact that her family makes those choices. That’s a completely different thing. Using India’s birthname doesn’t shed any light on the facts of the case. They don’t use it to contextualize India’s death as part of a larger pattern of violence against trans women of color. They don’t consider how her family rejection contributed to her vulnerability in the same way that the family rejection experienced by the man who took her life are prominently featured in the stories.
More than 100 people turned out last week for a vigil in honor of India. And my personal kudos to those people around this nation who hold vigil in the media, demanding that our sisters lives be acknowledged by the use of their actual names.
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