LUCEDALE, Miss. (AP) – An investigator says a transgender teenager who was found buried on the suspect’s father’s property in George County earlier this year was beaten to death.
George County sheriff’s Capt. Ben Brown told the Sun Herald that 28-year-old defendant Josh Vallum had known 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson for about nine to 11 months, but investigators are unsure if Vallum knew Williamson was a transgender woman.
Vallum, who was arrested June 2, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Williamson, a Theodore, Alabama girl whose birth name was Michael Wilkins.
Vallum met with his public defender, David Futch, July 29 and waived his preliminary hearing. George County Justice Court Judge Norman Cedric Howell has sent the case to a grand jury. If indicted and convicted, Vallum could face a life sentence.