SALISBURY, N.C. — Angel Arias, 25, pleaded guilty on June 13 to the murder of Elisha Walker, a 20-year-old transgender woman with whom he had formerly had a romantic relationship. Aria is a member of the Latin Kings, a gang which sources say might have posed a threat to his life if other members had discovered his relationship with Walker.
Elisha’s sister, Porshia Walker, said after the sentencing that her sister was murdered for nothing. Saying that everyone needs “to love one another, while we can,” the mourning sister said that their family has been changed by the loss. The family, she said, has gotten some closure from Aria’s sentence of 19 to 24 years in prison.
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Elisha Walker had a romantic relationship with Arias for six to eight months prior. Investigators discovered that Walker frequented a home on Hemlock Drive, identified as a former residence of Aria. He claims he had tried to end the relationship, but that Walker kept trying to see him.
Walker disappeared in late Oct. 2014. Her burnt car was found in late Nov., leading investigators to suspect Arias. The investigation crossed Rowan, Sampson and Johnston county — where Walker’s body was found in July 2015. She had been beaten, strangled and stabbed.
Arias confessed to detectives that he had assaulted and murdered Walker in his home on Hemlock Drive. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, a reduced charge, in exchange for prosecutors dismissing a charge for stealing a motor vehicle. He will spend 19 to 24 years in prison for the murder.
Walker is one of a rising number of transgender people being murdered nationwide every year. The year she died, 14 transgender victims were identified. Walker’s death makes at least 15 in 2014, and 2015 set the record with 21 murdered transgender people. Last year, at least 24 were killed.