Selena Reyes Hernandez was killed on May 31 after spending 20 minutes with her murderer. She was 37 and lived in Chicago. The young man who killed her was an 18 year old high schoo senior. At this point we know more about him than we do about her. From the Chicago Sun
Orlando Perez, of the 7200 block of South Homan Avenue, told investigators he left Reyes-Hernandez’s apartment after finding out she was transgender.
But Perez said he “kept seeing her face and it kept bothering him and he was mad as hell,” prosecutors said during a hearing on first-degree murder charges.
He’s beyond heinous. He’s 18 with no criminal history and somehow absorbed this lesson about her humanity. He returned to kill her, then return a second time to shoot her dead body. From the Chicago Tribune
Perez said he returned with a gun, walked into the home and shot her in the head and back before running out, according to Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy. He left but went back inside and fired three more shots as she laid on the floor, Murphy said.
Sadly, Selena’s family, law enforcement, and local media chose to deadname and misgender her, even burying her in native Mexico under her deadname. Notably prosecutors did specify her chosen name in court. And that’s important because Perez admits he executed her because she was trans. He could have walked away and had no further contact with her, but he admits he was compelled to take action to hurt her. And even shooting her in the head wasn’t enough, he had to do so more. That’s a really sick person.
It is always dismaying when we know more about the predator than the victim or survivor.
Perez is being held without bail and his demeanor in the courtroom is abhorrent. It is a terrifying illustration of how the dehumanizing rhetoric around trans neighbors is tied to their violent erasure from our community.
Rest in power, Selena. There is progress towards justice, but we cannot change the facts of your burial. Posts like this one will say your name so your memory will live on. You deserved a long life far from this violence. I hope we learn more about your lived life. You are not erased.
My list of transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary neighbors who have lost their lives to violent deaths in the US during 2020.