The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a man suspected in the murder of Royal Poetical Starz, 26, who was shot to death in October.

Duvon Russell, Jr., 28, was arrested on Dec. 31 on unrelated charges by the department. He currently has six charges against him, including second-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and robbery with a firearm.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrest report, an officer responded to a Crime Stoppers tip and found him at a Davenport home — he had arrest warrants from Miami-Dade County, Polk County, and Columbia County. When police asked him to leave the home, Russell did not respond and instead tried to hide in the attic. He was previously wanted by the department for robbing a liquor store with a gun in September 2021.

CBS4 reports that Russell will be extradited to Miami-Dade County.

Starz was found dead in her Hummer in the 4600 block of Northwest 185th Street in Miami Gardens on Oct. 2, 2021 during the late morning. She lived in Pompano Beach but was originally from Nebraska. Miami Gardens Police say that a Black male suspect wearing an orange T-shirt or hoodie and dark pants was seen leaving the crime on foot.

Starz was pronounced dead at the scene. Sandy T. Fox, a friend of Starz, said in October that she was allegedly shot in the face and then her body about 20 times. It’s unclear if Russell and Starz knew each other or what their interaction was prior to her death.

“It shows to me a very high level of premeditation and anger,” Fox said.

He also said that she was “always the life of the party” and drew attention for her outfits, hair and nails. Last summer, she proudly graduated from Florida Career College with a business degree. Starz’s friends offered to pay for her funeral in her hometown of Omaha, NE, and a GoFundMe was also created.

Starz was one of at least 51 transgender or gender nonconforming people killed in 2021, the deadliest year on record since the Human Rights Campaign started tracking the information in 2013. Already, there are at least two murders in 2022, including Duval Princess, a trans woman from Jacksonville.


23 Trans People Killed in Florida Since 2015: Here's Where the Cases Stand