A former U.S. soldier from Texas allegedly tried hooking up with a trans woman he met online mere days after murdering another trans woman during a sexual encounter, a court in El Paso heard this week.
23-year-old Anthony Michael Bowden is a former Fort Bliss soldier. He is currently on trial for the murder of Erykah Tijerina, a trans woman found stabbed to death with a chisel at the Rio Grande Government Apartment Complex in August 2016.
Tijerina, who made most of her income as a sex worker, was found with 24 stab wounds on the left side of her arms, upper shoulder area, and hands.
The El Paso Times reports:
Defense lawyers have claimed throughout the trial that Tijerina would meet with men for sex and then attempt to blackmail them.
They claimed that Bowden killed Tijerina in self-defense after Tijerina allegedly attempted to blackmail him by telling Fort Bliss officials about their sexual encounter and lying that he was her pimp.
Chyna Fierro was a close friend of Tijerina’s for over 15 years. She testified in court this week that she’d heard from others that Tijerina would sometimes resort to blackmail if a client didn’t pay her for her services, though she never directly spoke with her about it.
In a statement to El Paso police, Fierro stated: “I knew Erykah was blackmailing her clients. She would say she would tell their families if they didn’t pay.”
But it was Fierro’s testimony about Bowden that was particularly chilling.
She claims Bowden sent her message on the dating app Meet Me just two weeks after Tijerina was murdered. The message simply said “DTF” (Down to F*ck).
Fierro replied by telling Bowden his message was inappropriate, especially since she was grieving the death of “a close friend whose was murder [sic.].”
That’s when Bowden messaged back: “I’m just a really horny guy.”
Later in the conversation, Fierro told Bowden she’s trans. He replied by saying he didn’t know, even though it’s clearly stated in Fierro’s profile. He then sent another message trying to arrange a meeting.
Fierro told the court she never actually met up with Bowden.
Statistically speaking, trans women face a much higher likelihood of becoming victims of violence and murder. According to the HRC, 2016 saw at least 23 deaths of transgender people in the United States due to fatal violence. The number was even higher in 2017, prompting the organization to declare it a “national epidemic.”
Bowden is charged with one count of murder and faces up to life in prison if convicted.