A Michigan pastor was sentenced to eight years in prison for the shooting death of a transgender woman in Detroit, as the victim’s family delivered scathing impact statements.
Albert Weathers, 50, was sentenced last week for the killing of Kelly Stough, 36, in 2018.
Weathers pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and a felony firearm charge. A plea agreement with prosecutors allowed for a sentencing cap of eight years for the murder and two for the felony charge.
The victim’s mother, Jessica Williams, said she was grateful for the resolution to the case. But, ripped the killer who left Stough ‘in the street, discarded like trash.’
‘She had the courage to withstand it all and live her truth her way with no excuses or regrets. Unlike yourself, Weathers, you murdered my child to try and hide your shame and fear of who you really are,’ she said.
Kelly Stough, 36, a transgender woman was shot to death on the morning of December 7, 2018
Albert Weathers pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for killing the transgender woman
Patricia Hale, the victim’s grandmother, told the guilty pastor: ‘But I pray for God’s blessing on you. You know The Word, you know what you’ve done. Ask forgiveness and I hope it comes.’
According to testimony, Stough’s body was found around 6am on December 7, 2018.
Following the shooting, Weathers went to his job in downtown Detroit where he worked as a security guard. About an hour later, he called the police to report the incident as a robbery.
Weathers, who was also the pastor of Logos Church in Detroit, told authorities he shot Stough in self-defense, though he also claimed the shooting was accidental.
He initially told investigators, ‘I was protecting myself.’ But later claimed his weapon ‘went off by mistake.’
According to Weathers, he grabbed his .40-caliber Glock only after Stough jumped into his car and demanded cash. He claimed he told her to leave the car, at which point Stough lunged at him with a sharp metal object.
Prosecutors argued the pastor knew Stough and had frequented the area where the shooting took place. The area is frequented by sex workers and their clientele.
Stough was born Tristian Stough and played college football before dropping out to pursue a career in fashion.
The precise motivation behind Weathers’ shooting of the victim remains unclear.
Stough’s mother (left) and grandmother (right) delivered victim impact statements that commemorated their kin and lay waste to Weathers
Weathers, 50, remained emotionless throughout the sentencing. One assistant prosecutor said she felt it was unclear that Weathers understood the severity of his actions
When Weathers entered his guilty plea earlier this summer, Williams said she was relieved to hear her child’s killer acknowledge his actions.
‘I was glad – I just wanted to hear him admit it. Did you say a prayer with her before you left her out in the street like trash? Did you at least hold her hand and tell her you’re sorry,’ she said.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement Stough ‘will not be forgotten. She mattered. We will continue to aggressively prosecute those who bring harm to this and other Wayne County communities.’
She added Weathers’ sentence is another step taken by her office to defend members of the marginalized transgender community.
Weathers declined to give a statement in court last week
Lisa Lindsey, one of the assistant prosecutors who tried the case, said she remains unsure Weathers realized the severity of his actions.
‘Even though he has pled guilty to this offense, I still do not believe based on the pre-sentence report and based on what I have listened to on the jail calls, that the defendant fully understands what he did on that morning.’
Weathers remained stoic throughout the hearing and did not speak on his behalf. His attorney reviewed the facts of the case and the police report that followed before hearing from the judge.
The pastor will have until October 9 to turn himself in.