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Watch: Suspect in Murder of Trans Woman Dominique Fells in Custody

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday November 15, 2020

Akhenaton Jones
Akhenaton Jones  (Source:Philadelphia PD)

Police in Los Angeles say they have apprehended the suspect in the gruesome slaying and dismemberment of a 27-year-old trans woman, Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells, in Philadelphia last June.

Local news channel CBS3 in Philadelphia reported on the arrest of Akhenaton Jones, who the newscast said is awaiting extradition from California.

Details were scant, with Los Angeles CBS affiliate KCAL reporting only that Jones had been arrested. "No further details were immediately available about the case, Jones' ties to the L.A. area, or which units took him into custody," the KCAL report added.

As previously reported at EDGE, Fells' mutilated body was found in the Schuykill River in Philadelphia on June 8. The victim died of multiple stab wounds, and both of her legs had been cut off.

News reports said that Jones and Fell knew each other, but said the motive for the slaying was not known.

Police issued a warrant for Jones' arrest after looking for him at his house. Jones was not there, but authorities found blood and a power tool for cutting, Philadelphia newspaper the Inquirer reported the week after Fells' body was discovered.

"Fells made outfits and wigs for people in her freelance fashion work and also organized the 'Rock the Runway — A Trans Empowerment Fashion Show' that took place last year at the William Way LGBT Community Center" in Philadelphia, the Inquirer reported.

Madelyn Morrison, a friend of Fells', told the Inquirer the Fells was "vibrant" and her work was "so brilliant, so creative."

Calling Fell's murder "yet another act of hate and violence against a member of the LGBTQ community" in a statement that was released at the time Fells' body was found, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said, "We are deeply disturbed by the facts of this case, and extend our deepest sympathy to Ms. Fells' family, friends, and the entire LGBTQ community."

The same week Jones' body was found, another transgender woman of color, 25-year-old home health aide and university student Riah Milton, as shot to death in Liberty Township, Ohio. Three suspects were apprehended in the days after Milton's murder.

Lethal violence targeting transgender Americans has reached crisis proportions, with trans women of color bearing the brunt. The Human Rights Campaign, which tracks fatal violence directed at trans and gender non-conforming victims, reports 34 victims have died so far this year, making 2020 the deadliest year on record for the transgender community.

Watch the CBS local news clip below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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