Add Jacob Williamson to the Conversation about Brutal Violence Targeting Trans and Nonbinary Youth

Content Note: transgender, anti-trans violence, graphic descriptions of violence

Jacob Williamson

As we continue to grieve the violent death of Nex Benedict in Oklahoma, there’s another case that should hold our attention.

Jacob Williamson, an 18 year old white trans man, was brutally murdered in Monroe, North Carolina while on a first date with someone he met online. That person, Joshua Newton, lived in Monroe with his girlfriend, Victoria Smith. They lured Jacob into a meeting, held him captive, and then brutally killed him, dumping his body on a roadside. Jacob went missing on June 30, 2023. His body was discovered on July 4, 2023.

Newton and Smith were arrested soon after, charged with murder and for moving his body.

Fast forward to 2024. This month, investigators released more information on that absolutely heinous nature of this murder. North Carolina’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner shared their findings along with the investigation details.

The autopsy reveals his cause of death was multiple sharp force injuries. The report shared details of more than 30 stab wounds, cuts and mutilations. Some body parts were intentionally removed. His body was placed into multiple trash bags.

The pathologist found 29 stab wounds to Williamson’s chest, 15 of which were concentrated on the left chest, according to the report. Williamson also suffered a stab wound to his left arm and cutting wounds to his neck and chest. There was also evidence of intentional removal of body parts, which were not recovered, according to the report.

Read more at:

It gets worse. Hours after the killing. Smith and Newton explain to their social media followers that Newton had to get stitches on his hand that morning. They were livestreaming most of the weekend between Jacob’s disappearance and the discover of his body. Some of the streaming included a visit by local police officers canvassing the neighborhood while searching for Jacob. The lack of empathy, the level of depravity is difficult to describe.

Joshua Newton said three words — “It was fun” — as he danced during the livestream.

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You can learn more about the livestream at this link.

The investigative report, which was attached to the medical examiner’s findings, says that in the early morning hours of July 4, 2023, an unnamed witness led investigators to the gravesite roughly 25 yards off the side of Mangum School Road in Pageland, South Carolina. The site was approximately eight miles from Newton and Smith’s home. Williamson’s remains were found buried under old car tires and pine straw, according to the report. He had been placed in black plastic trash bags bound together with duct tape. He was identified following a comparison of dental records.

Read more at:

The report also notes more than a dozen bruises on the front and back of Williamson’s legs. A toxicology report included in the pathologist’s findings did not indicate the presence of drugs or alcohol.

In spite of all of this, investigators are refusing to consider hate crime charges. So I refer you to the post I wrote last year sharing more about Jacob’s life. Jacob was out for 28 days before he was murdered. 28 days. And tell me how literally butchering a teenager could be anything but a hate crime?

28 days.

I’m sharing this gruesome information because I see a pattern of heinous violence targeting young trans and binary youth. There’s also the commonality that the murderers themselves are all young. Nex Benedict is the most recent example. Briannna Ghey, 16, was brutally stabbed to death by two other 16 year olds. Jacob’s killers were 25 and 22.

Three young victims of horrific violence. Three sets of young killers. The deaths are not literally connected. They are connected to a narrative that has ratcheted upwards in recent years. A narrative of erasing trans experiences. And erasing trans people through policies and procedures in schools, in local and state legislation, and national rhetoric.

A narrative that demonizes trans youth for simply existing. If we continue to turn away from the complex realities of trans youth in our society, we are taking a significant risk that it will get worse. We need to consider this context of age in these conversations. Broad generalizations about younger generations attitudes towards identity may be overlooking a very real threat.

If you have capacity to read more about Jacob’s final days, prepare yourself. Maybe  share with someone else.

I’m aware that these are three white youth. Nex is reported to be part of the Choctaw Nation, but that’s not been confirmed. I know from doing this work for 10 years that there are trans BIPOC youth who need to be added to this list. I’m planning to take a deep dive into my 2023 archives.

Right now, please get Jacob’s story circulating. He was out for 28 days before being butchered. This new information is very important.

Nex Benedict (l) Jacob Williamson (c) Brianna Ghey (r)


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