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MURDERED: DEONI JONES

WHO KILLED DEONI JONES?

Weird Wax Co proudly supports all people that identify with the LGBTQ+ spectrum. The next few cases we’re sharing focus on their stories.Selfie of Deoni Jones, Black Transgender woman, wearing a velvet purple headband, gold hoops, and a black leather jacket.

THE MURDER

It was a brisk February evening in Washington DC when Deoni Jones (23) was fatally stabbed in the face by a stranger. She identified as transgender and it is theorized she was killed for that. Shortly after 8 PM on February 2, 2012 someone stabbed Deoni in her right temple while she was sitting at a bus stop. A witness tackled the assailant, punched and stomped on them in an attempt to restrain them while awaiting help. Unfortunately this failed and the suspect continued to flee. He was described by the witness as a Black male, 5'9-5'11, 150-160lbs, medium complexion, between 33-40 years old, wearing blue jeans, a black quilted jacket, and a gray hooded sweat shirt underneath the jacket with the hood pulled up.


THE SUSPECT

Later, Gary Montgomery (55), was identified as the suspect despite not quite matching the description, wearing brown clothes, and having no obvious bruises or injuries. The witness said the murderer could run very fast yet he walked with a limp. He suffered from mental illness and psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia for most of his adult life according to court records. 

During interrogations, Montgomery admitted that he saw the victim at the bus stop. When asked, Montgomery said that Deoni’s identity did not bother him.  He continued to say he “crushed” the “pretty lady” which his attorneys described as flirting. Montgomery mentioned that he lost his knife which he described as similar to the murder weapon. His presence in the area was confirmed by video surveillance but his attorneys confirm he left before the crime occurred. 

 

THE TRIAL

Over the next several years Montgomery was evaluated for his competency to stand trial and was finally tried and acquitted in 2017. There was a lack of evidence to show he committed this murder, as such, the jurors did not believe he was guilty. In trial, attorneys showed surveillance of the crime occurring but it must have been difficult to see since it did not provide a definitive answer. His defense attorneys shared surveillance video from nearby businesses around the time of the incident showing someone else who appeared to be wearing clothes more consistent with initial witness reports. Who was this person? Who else was in the area? 

Montgomery was released from custody after 5 years in psychiatric care. Deoni’s family believes he is guilty and that justice was not served. This situation is heartbreaking as it appears to be a bleak outcome for all. Deoni has not received justice. Her family has not received closure. Gary Montgomery lost 5 years of his life and died a couple of years later.

If Gary Montgomery did not kill Deoni Jones, then who did? We’re telling her story because Deoni’s life matters. The case may have ended in acquittal but the pain lingers and questions remain unanswered.

Photo of Deoni Jones, Black transgender woman, wearing a white long sleeve blouse.

 

BIGGER PICTURE

LGBTQ+ people are more likely to be victims of violent crime and people of color are especially vulnerable. According to the FBI’s 2020 hate crime statistics, more than 20% were victimized based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. According to a recent study (2020) by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, LGBTQ+ people are 4x more likely than non-LGBTQ+ people to experience violent crime. The Human Rights Campaign has documented more than 200 violent deaths of transgender and non-binary individuals since 2013. Of those, two-thirds of these victims are Black women and sadly more than half of the incidents involved gun violence. 

BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER.

HOW WE CAN HELP

  • Light your candles and spark a conversation about Deoni. 10% of our sales are donated to various donations that support the victims we talk about. Our next donation will go to a LGBTQ+ organization.
  • Check in on the LGBTQ+ people in your life.
  • Amplify the voices of transgender and non-binary individuals by sharing their stories - it could be in casual conversation or as simple as an easy re-share on your social platforms. 
  • Donate to organizations that focus on uplifting LGBTQ+, people of color, sex workers, asylum seekers and refugees.

THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ THIS STORY5 large candle vessels with wooden wicks. Vessels vary in color: lilac, milk, mustard, clearidescent, ocean iridescent,

SOURCES

ACLU - American Civil Liberties Union (2021)
FBI (2020)
Flores, A., et al. Victimization rates and traits of sexual and gender minorities in the United States (2020) 
GLAAD - Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (2012)
HRC - Human Rights Campaign 
National Crime Victimization Survey (2017)
NCAVP - National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (2017)
NCTE - National Center for Transgender Equality
NSVRC - National Sexual Violence Resource Center (2020)
The Washington Post
Washington Blade 

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