Two indicted for second-degree murder for summer killing of transgender woman in Louisiana, district attorney reports

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DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (The Livingston Parish News) – Two Denham Springs natives were each indicted for one count of second-degree murder in the killing of a transgender woman last summer, according to a statement from District Attorney Scott Perrilloux’s office.

Lynette Muse, 35, and Christopher Causey, 38, were both indicted by a St. Helena Parish Grand Jury on Oct. 27, nearly four months after the body of 32-year-old Shakie Peters was found in rural St. Helena Parish in early July.

According to Perrilloux, Peters was last seen on June 29 with Muse and Causey leaving Fred Banks Drive, north of Interstate 12 in Denham Springs, and traveling to St. Helena Express Casino.

Causey and Muse returned home without Peters, Perrilloux said. In the statement from the district attorney’s office, Muse and Causey drove Peters nearly 40 miles from where she was last seen to a remote location on Opal Bennett Road near Amite in the late night or early morning hours.

They then shot the victim “several times” before leaving the body on the side of the roadway, Perrilloux said.

Deputies located Peters’ body around 2:15 p.m. on July 1. The St. Helena Sheriff’s Office arrested Muse on Aug. 28, less than two weeks before Causey was booked into a New Orleans jail. 

No motives have yet been publicly released. The case is scheduled for a preliminary exam on Jan. 29, 2021.

Authorities initially identified Peters as a man, highlighting one of the many challenges the LGBTQ community faces during an unprecedented wave of violence affecting transgender individuals.

Peters was one of two transgender women killed in the greater Baton Rouge area over the summer. The second was Queasha Hardy, a hairstylist from Baton Rouge.

There have been at least 40 transgender killed across the nation in 2020, according to data tracked by the national nonprofit Human Rights Campaign. However, HRC officials say the true figure is likely higher since transgender homicide victims are routinely and mistakenly identified by the names and genders they were assigned at birth.

“This horrific spike in violence against our community must be an urgent call to action for every single person in this nation,” said Tori Cooper, Director of Community Engagement for HRC’s Trans Justice Initiative, after the killing of Peters.

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