Transgender woman's death ruled a homicide

Posted: October 14, 2010

EDITOR'S NOTE: In response to complaints regarding this story, the Daily News has altered its style when referring to transgendered people. This story has been modified from its original version.

The death of a transgender woman in her Point Breeze house on Monday has been ruled a homicide by strangulation and asphyxiation, police said yesterday.

The 31-year-old victim, known to friends and neighbors as Stacey and identified by police as Michael Lee, was found half-dressed on the floor of a second-story bedroom by her live-in boyfriend about 9:30 p.m., police said.

He called police to the house and is not considered a suspect at this point, said Homicide Sgt. Bob Wilkins.

Neighbors on Manton Street near 18th described Stacey as beautiful and friendly. Two neighbors interviewed separately said they would often see men who drove nice cars going in and out of Stacey's house while her boyfriend was at work. Another neighbor said she saw a hulking, bald man leave the house shortly before 4 p.m. on the day of Stacey's death.

Wilkins said that police do not know of a motive for the crime but that they're investigating all possibilities.

"We're getting a lot of information from the neighbors down there and other people that we're digging into right now," he said.

So far, there is nothing to establish the murder as a hate crime, Wilkins said.

"That's not even in our picture right now," he said.

Stacey was a member of the House of Blahnik and was considered the group's "Overall Mother," according to its website. The House of Blahnik is a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization for people of color that specializes in performing arts, disease prevention and health promotion.

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