Police in Prince George’s County, Md., have arrested a suspect in the death of 20-year-old transgender woman Taya Ashton, who was fatally shot last Saturday in her apartment in Suitland, Md.
DeAllen Davonta Price, 27, of District Heights, Md., is charged with first-degree and second-degree murder, among other crimes, the Washington Blade reports. He had been arrested by Arlington County, Va., police Monday on an unrelated robbery charge as he was trying to escape through a train tunnel. Prince George’s County and Arlington County are both part of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
“With the assistance of Metro Transit Police, Prince George’s County Police detectives and a K9 officer searched those tracks and recovered a weapon that’s now been linked to Taya’s murder,” Prince George’s police said in a Wednesday statement. Price was in custody in Virginia, pending extradition to Maryland, and police are still trying to determine a motive, although they do not believe Ashton’s murder was linked to her gender identity, the statement said.
Price had been in a sexual relationship with Ashton, according to a charging document viewed by the Blade. Ashton’s family members had said earlier that there had been no sign of forced entry at her apartment, so they believed she knew her attacker.
Price “admitted to being sexually intimate with the Decedent and stated that he has known the Decedent for approximately three months,” the document states. “He then admitted to being at the Decedent’s apartment the night of the murder and being sexually intimate with the Decedent that night,” it continues.
“Based on the aforementioned facts, the evidence indicates that the Defendant is responsible for shooting and killing the Decedent,” the document concludes. It does not say if he was questioned directly about whether he killed her or whether he admitted or denied that he had done so.
In addition to the murder charges, Price is charged with first-degree and second-degree assault, possession of a handgun, and use of a firearm in a felony, according to the document.
Ashton’s friends, family, and community leaders held a vigil to honor her Wednesday at River Terrace Park in D.C. She had grown up in the surrounding neighborhood. More than 200 people attended, trans activist Earline Budd told the Blade.
Budd, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy, D.C. Council member Trayon White, and LGBTQ+ activist Phil Pannell all spoke at the event, in addition to Ashton’s friends and relatives. Afterward, attendees drove in a caravan to Ashton’s apartment building in Suitland.
“The nearby streets were completely filled with people coming out for Taya and her family,” Budd said.