Drag performer found dead in Fayetteville

Jimmy McCollough (Imaje Devera) found on street near gay and lesbian bar

Originally published: April 14, 2009, 11:26 a.m.
Updated: April 15, 2009, 11:15 a.m.

Please see updated May 2 print issue story: Murder in Fayetteville

Image Devereux was found dead near the gay and lesbian Club Emages in Fayetteville on April 14

Jimmy McCollough (Imaje Devera) was found dead near the gay and lesbian Club Emages in Fayetteville on April 14

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Police confirmed on Tuesday afternoon the identity of a homicide victim found near a local gay and lesbian bar.

According to the Fayetteville Police Department, officers found drag performer Jimmy Ali McCollough (Imaje Devera), 34, shortly after midnight on April 14 in front of 119 Joseph St. The body was found near Club Emages, formerly Club Spektrum.

Police are not releasing any more information at the time, including how the victim died, citing the sensitive nature of the case.

Club Emages owner Dy’Mond Cartier told Raleigh news station WRAL that police said McCollough had been stabbed and that the case was being investigated as a hate crime.

The club was not open on Monday evening, so it is not immediately clear why McCollough was in the area. However, sources have told Q-Notes that he was involved in prostitution as a way to support himself. In many instances, transgender and other gender-variant individuals are forced to engage in prostitution as a livelihood, due to high rates of anti-gay and anti-transgender employment discrimination.

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The Joseph St. and Bragg Blvd. areas are known to have a high crime rate. Since the end of March, the Joseph St. area has witnessed an arrest for prostitution, an armed robbery and an aggravated assault wherein the victim was shot.

The identification of the victim was accompanied by a photograph taken after a prior arrest. No details regarding a prior arrest were immediately available.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact the Fayetteville Police Department Homicide Investigation Unit at 910-433-1856 or call Crime Stoppers at 910-483-TIPS (910-483-8477).

Please see updated May 2 print issue story: Murder in Fayetteville

Ed. Note Q-Notes is committed to honoring the victim’s gender-identity and expression. Information received when this story broke indicated Jimmy McCollough identified as a woman and as Imaje Devera. Since that time, new information indicates McCollough identified as a man. His female gender-expression was limited to his drag performances and female impersonation. From this point forward, Q-Notes will identify McCollough with his birth name and birth gender. We apologize for any confusion in this story.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

40 Replies to “Drag performer found dead in Fayetteville”

  1. I hope that when the Fayetteville police catch the person orpersons responsible for this horrible crime, they don’t screw up the investigation/interrogation like the Greeley, Colorado police did in the Zapata investigation.

  2. I can’t believe my friend is gone. Today is a sad day. My heart is breaking. We were friends for 11 years. He was one of first friends in this town. Now he can be with his mother and rest in peace. I love you Jimmy!

  3. Sorry for your loss. Hope they bust the loser who did it.

  4. I am so sad to hear about this. What a world. Does anyone know when and where the service is and if its open? I would like to go.

  5. Dennis Hartnett April 15, 2009 at 11:47 am

    What a waste 🙁 – He looked like a beauitiful person –
    Love and Sadness to you from Dennis in San Francisco

  6. “gender-variant individuals are forced to engage in prostitution as a livelihood, due to high rates of anti-gay and anti-transgender employment discrimination”

    That really sounds biased, and damages your credibility.

    It would be better to say something similar to “In an environment of employment discrimination, some gender-variant individuals turn to prostitution to support themselves.”

  7. I do not wish ill on anyone and I really couldn’t care less how people choose to live their lives because i certainly am not going to ask anyone’s approval for how I decide to live mine. Yet, I have a serious problem with this article. While the violent taking of a life is one of the most despicable acts of mankind I can imagine your description: transgender or gender variant individuals find it difficult to find work because of discrimination and are therefore FORCED into prostitution” leaves me breathless. In today’s job market, if all I had to do to get and keep a job is take off a damn dress and quit pretending I’m a woman I do not think that would be a hard decision. I much prefer eating than pretending I have somehow mysteriously been born in the wrong body……Please! That’s ridiculous!

  8. “…if all I had to do to get and keep a job is take off a damn dress and quit pretending I’m a woman…”
    Hooo-ee! What a bigot!

    There’s this thing called Science. It has this weird power–it keeps defining reality even when one finds it upsetting. Science says that people like me are compelled to live as women. (That was apparently not entirely the case for McCollough, but the comment comes from the same pool of fear and hatred as the murderer’s knife.)

    I was forced off my job for nine months by bigots like dhampton100; I looked for other jobs, and the clear response was “forget it.” “Forced” into prostitution is no exaggeration, though of course there is suicide or starvation/exposure as a choice as well.

    Fortunately for me, my union got my job back. But I work with the public, so the knife and the gun are there every night, and yes, the world’s dhamptons remind me of that, every chance they get.

    But I will live and die free.

  9. Joseph Arrington April 15, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    dhampton100 – I think you misunderstand the point of view of transgendered individuals, and the GLBT community as a whole, in relationship to employment descrimination, it’s not about just “putting on a dress” or “not being overt” it’s about being forced to pretend to be people we are not. While I understand your point of view and your rationale, it’s not that simple. Much as you said in your opening that you “really couldn’t care less how people choose to live their lives” there are many employers who do. As a result the choice becomes whether or not to live ones life openly and accept those consequences or secretly and then accept those consequences. Those are really the only two “choices” GLBT people have in their lives, not the choice of whether to *BE* GLBT, but whether or not to choose to be open about it. IMHO that is what the entire GLBT movement is trying to accomplish, the ability for each of us to live as everyone else does, and not have to choose between being out and dead or closeted and tormented.

  10. Reading comprehension is important..... April 15, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    The article says, “In many instances, transgender and other gender-variant individuals are forced to engage in prostitution as a livelihood, due to high rates of anti-gay and anti-transgender employment discrimination“

    Which is true.

    If anyone has a “problem“ with the information presented above, it should be that a life was just violently taken and that transgender and gender non-conforming communities face violence and discrimination on an everyday basis that is sanctioned by society and our government.

    Read a book, a newspaper, anything, before making huge statements about how easy it is to get and retain a job as a transgender person.

  11. As with any violent crime, it is senseless that it happened and should serve as a reminder that taking a life is one of the biggest atrocities to mankind. I am not involved in the transgender/transexual community (actively) but I have seen first hand how the discrimination does make it next to impossible to secure employment. In some NY State Agencies and in Manhattan, there is starting to be more of a realization for this type of equality in the workplace. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options and prostitution does become a “means to an end” for survival. Hopefully more straight and gay people will look at this article and realize that something more needs to be done. For those straight people that aren’t sure – don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can only learn and understand once you become involved. For those of us in the gay community, please don’t be upset when someone not in “our life” doesn’t understand or makes some uneducated comments – chances are they are just looking for knowledge and it is up to the gay community to help bring that understanding – as warmly as possible. “Only a man’s character is the real criterion of worth”, Eleanor Roosevelt.
    I am sorry to those that were friends and family that will mourn the loss of Jimmy. Let’s his legacy be a continuation of promoting one’s character, not their look – hopefully we will overcome what we create for ourselves, and learn to be only who we really are.
    Thanks for everyone’s post. Much love and peace! 😀

  12. It’s the “somehow, mysteriously” that gets me. The science and sociology of why people are transgender, and why it’s not as easy as just faking one’s way through life as one’s birth gender, is out there, folks. (I recommend the book _Sexing the Body_.)

    It might be a point of contention if you don’t agree with it, and that’s everybody’s right — but it’s only a mystery if you’re stupefyingly ignorant.

    Also, Matt, thank you thank you thank you for being so considerate of Jimmy’s gender identity one way or the other, and caring enough to get it right. I’m proud the screaming of “political correctness” — as if respecting someone else’s wishes were this horrible agonizing imposition, or “it’s what’s in your pants that counts” were a mature attitude towards this — has been kept to a minimum in these comments, too.

  13. this is in response to the person who said “if all I had to do to get and keep a job is take off a damn dress and quit pretending I’m a woman I do not think that would be a hard decision. I much prefer eating than pretending I have somehow mysteriously been born in the wrong body”, that is a very ignorant point of view, and I do appreciate that you are “sharing” your thoughts but until you have walked a mile, or a mere day in another person’s shoes I would be more thoughtful of my comments. It is very easy for people to judge when they have no experience in the subject matter or what it is really like to live as a transgendered person. Also the freedom of speech and expression we have here in America is limited at best.
    I am sorry to see another person’s life taken regardless of the why’s.

  14. It is sad to get called regarding the death of a friend that so supported my journey with his giving heart .

    To the family and to many other friends please remember that it was not how Jimmy choose lived yet how he loved so many with a heart so kind .

    Please remember that Jimmy’s entrance in our lives was that of an angel. He showed and shared each person that walked with him during his journey in life things we may have never learned to enjoy or understand .

    For it was thru Jimmy that many including myself learned to give and live unselfishly ,so that we may love others freely .

  15. Kathy McCollough April 15, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Jimmy was my brother. I miss my brother so much. That cross dressing was just his nightlife. During the day he dressed like the man that he was. I hope that they find who killed my brother.

  16. dhampton’s remarks sound exactly like the sort of insensitive things straight people say: If they would stay in the closet, and not parade their lifestyle in front of the whole world, then they wouldn’t have to worry about being bullied or murdered.

    Dhampton illustrates that unfeeling and unthinking people can be gay as well as straight, that these type of people, as long as their civil rights are in place, as long as others understand where they are coming from, don’t really care about the minority beneath them.

    Thats pretty sad dhampton . . . Maybe you should put on a dress for a week.

    Rico

  17. dhampton100……..Who would expect you to understand since you are nothing more than a two-bit bigot. It’s trash such as yourself that makes this world difficult for many good people. Change idiot, take our your garbage, it’s beginning to stink.

  18. Also in response to the comment asking why don’t they just stop dressing like women and get a job blah blah. Well, the problem is it’s not just dress. Sure, it’s easy to stop dressing like a woman. But what about manner of speech? Some things you just can’t put away. And this is why aspects of the LGBT rights movement affects people who aren’t queer as well. There are plenty of straight men who just don’t quite fit intomachismo gender expectations. When you think of a business man, for example, they have a tough, aggressive stereotype. If a man, gay or straight, has a lisp, maybe has some “effeminate” mannerisms, or simply doesn’t feel like the type of guy who belongs with other loud dudes inside a sports bar…. well, then that sucks for them. If you really don’t believe me, imagine an assertive businessman versus an assertive businesswoman. How often is she called a bitch? In the last election, why was Hillary singled out as a bitch when McCain and other candidates were just as aggressive? For guys, their sexuality often comes into question if their personality and mannerisms don’t fit the bill. Even if they’re straight or gay and don’t even bring up their sexuality, others will. Also why I hate the argument, “Well, don’t bring up your sexuality in the workplace, straight people don’t” because it’s a load of BS. If a guy talks about his wife, what’s a gay guy to do? Mention his boyfriend or be quiet? Even being quiet will make him questionable. So it’s ridiculous to say “stop putting on dresses and get a real job” because it’s not that simple.

  19. Can we please just focus on the victim and the sadness of this moment and not on ourselves for just once.

  20. This is a tragedy. Despite what dhampton might think, being transgendered is much more than a matter of dress. It is deeply a part of who these people are.

    Why is it that gay people are always expected to kowtow to heterosexual norms and hide their sexuality? Straight people flaunt it just by mentioning spouses or significant others, but the LGBTQ are expected to lie about themselves.

    I believe that Imaje is at rest with God/dess, who does not discriminate and knows the heart and sould much better than any human being.

  21. Kathy McCollough April 16, 2009 at 7:38 am

    dhampton you better thank the lord above that i cant get ahold of your ass!!! its assholes like you that always got something to say and you dont know a damn thing!!!!! I loved my brother with all my heart even though he dressed in drag to support himself. So what!!! YOU shouldve came to nc and paid his bills then dhampton. Just shut the fuck up and get some knowledge in stead of trying to judge somebody. Jimmy is in a far better place than we are. Rest In Peace Jimmy. Your sister loves you very much!!!!!!!

  22. Tracy Donnelly April 16, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    My heart goes out to Kathy and all the friends and family of the victim. I am a straight woman living in a cruel world. I would never presume to tell another human being how to live or worse yet, who to love. It’s difficult enough to find true love and peace in this world and I support anyone in that quest. When I read about Jimmy, I saw a brave soul that will be very missed. Peace to you and Godspeed.

  23. Please can we all respond as adults here .Many are hurting behind this matter and we need to realize it is the Media that has placed so much confusion and disrespect toward this matter by how it has placed words to the incident .

    Had the artical just read “MAN IS STABBED” the media would not have had it’s sales ratings go up as it did this week .

    We are all frustrated and must focus by placing that frustraction into action so that deaths as this will cease .

    For HAMPTON well go read a bit more and learn the truth or better yet Volunteer yourself to a non profit org surrounding homeless ,or helpless folks .

    I am a transman and very active in the GBLT community in the East coast . I know the struggle of many in thr GBLT FAMILY .

    TO the sister my friend Please stand strong and continue the support you have given to myself and others as you do daily .

    To the family and friends become more active in organizations that are fighting for Human /Civil rights for all ppl .

    Please ppl letz think of the tragedy here and not someone’s past livelyhood .

    For Jimmy did not live in a lifestyle .What he did to gain self happyness and peace was his livelyhood and to be the performer he was so skilled .

    Let’s celebrate the fact that Jimmy no longer will have to struggle in a world so cruel .Jimmy’s struggle on earth is done now he can be at peace .

    We must put to peace as well the anger we hold by placing positive by working together make a change in this world for all ppl.

  24. Jimmy was a good friend of mine. I went to hair school with him and he also sat beside me during the 2008 graduation at fayetteville tech community college. He graduated with 2 degrees and was a good friend. I would on occasion give him a ride home from hair school i am really sad about this if anyone know when his funeral is going to be please leave the date and time on this site and give me the date of service i love you jimmy and god will accept you into heaven no matter what we already talked about it. with that being said rest in peace.

    now to mutherfucker that did this shit i pray for you and what you did you will get caught and you will not have any luck until you are under the grave fuck you i hate you go to hell you stupid son of a bitch ass hole fucker may a bullet go straight to your mutherfucken fore head.

    from a frien of jimmy

  25. I had the pleasure of knowing Jimmy Ali McCollough bka Miss Imaje Devera for a couple of years..He helped me when I found out that I was HIV positive..It is such a sad thing for that to have happened to him..To the family of Jimmy, I pray that you all will gain all the comfort, love, & peace that God is MORE than able to give to you all during your time of bereavement..To ALL the friends and EVERYONE affected by this who knew Jimmy, we have to come together and stop all this hating on each other because we’re here today and can be gone tomorrow..Life isn’t promised to no one..To the individual or individuals involved I pray that God has mercy on your soul..For the battle is not your’s it’s the Lords’..God is going to have his hands full now..Rest in peace my friend.

  26. J.A.Y. I would love to be in touch with you since you had the pleasure of knowing my brother. If you can you can get in touch with me on blackplanet. My screen name is ChozenbyGod7. IF you dont have page there please make yourself one and send me a note cuz I like to be in touch with all who had the pleasure of knowing my brother.

  27. HELLO ALL. This is Jimmy’s Sister Kathy again here to let you know that Jimmy’s father has just gotten in from Iraq and we have not done the funeral arrangements. For personal reasons Jimmy and I’s father has decided not to post any funeral arrangements in the paper or online. If you plan to attend the services email me at nubian_queen_2000_2001@yahoo.com and put in the subject line Funeral for Jimmy so I know who you are. Thank you for understanding and thank you for all your prayers.

  28. Thank you Kathy for that info .Many will understand that at this time it is time for your family to mourn as so desired .

    Will there be a desire to allow many to send flowers of condolence or donations to please inform us of this matter .

    Should someone beware of any form of a Memorial service later at date please inform of this matter .

  29. I knew Mr. Jimmy and he was a down to earth, keeping it real kind of man. He had such a kind heart and would do anything if you asked him. I’m going to miss seeing him at the hair shop, and walking around the school campus with him. He always knew how to put a smile on my face. I’m going to miss him and for the person that did it I wish they would turn themselves in.

  30. R.I.P. Jimmy Ali McCollough

  31. I think that everyone has the right to be who they are…..No MATTER WHAT!!!! And who has the right to take a life or to even judge anyone…all men was born in to sin and must live out there own soul salvation. He did not deserve to be killed for choosing his own lifestlye….People are so quick to throw stones…..Like they are perfect BUT NEWS FLASH they not perfect. And i hope that they find this >>>>>>>> and hang his ass out for the vulture to eat on.I am representing the house of CHANEL and we send our our CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY!!!! AND REMEMBER LIVE YOUR LIFE FOR YOU……

  32. I PRAY THEY FIND WHO KILLED MY BROTHER REAL SOON AND LET SOMEBODY DO TO HIM WHAT HE DID TO MY BROTHER!!! TO EVERYONE AT CLUB EMAGES, THANK YOU FOR BEING SO SUPPORTIVE OF MY BROTHER AND BEING SO LOVING. GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

  33. what a sad day…may peace come to the family…and justice be done for the life of a human being that was lost so tragically.

  34. To the jack-a-double dhampton that had some f-up mess to say about Jimmy…U can say it to my face!Jimmy was a distant cousin of mines and he and I was very close.I didnt let ANYONE bother him and he did the same for me.To the person that killed him…I HOPE U ROT IN HELL!!!U took away someone who was loved very much…in drag and outside of drag.Jimmy never hurt anyone and he didnt deserve what you did.U are a sorry a– coward.To the McCollough family continue to pray and seek justice.Dont let them sweep this under the rug.We got to be strong and find justice for Jimmy.I love you and miss you Jimmy.I will always remember your beautiful smile.R.I.P

  35. Ahsha, thank you for your kind remarks about my brother. I have been hounding the papers as well the news stations. I refuse to let them people make me be quiet about this. I will hassle them, keep calling and keep emailing and make them burn up the road and follow every lead until my brother’s killer is found,

  36. I hope they catch the one(s) who did it!

  37. Oh, I forgot to say that I hope they are strung up by their private parts. I am not a violent person, but this kind of story makes me feel violent. I wish you good luck, Kathy!

  38. I am still seeking justice for my brothers killer. If you all want to help me on this journey, bombard the fayetteville police department with calls and emails. I love you all for the support during the family’s time of sorrow.

  39. HAPPY 35TH BIRTHDAY JIMMY. I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH. AND I AM STILL WORKING HARD TO FIND OUT WHO TOOK YOU AWAY FROM US. BE AT REST IN JESUS’S BOSOM NOW. GOD WANTED YOU NOW AND HE SET YOU FREE.

  40. Please see updated May 2 print issue story: Murder in Fayetteville

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