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Missing transgender woman found dead in ‘crude’ North Carolina grave

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The body of Elisha Walker, a 20-year-old transgender woman who had been missing for almost a year, was found in a “crude grave” in Johnston County, North Carolina. According to advocates and local media, the discovery was made more than 100 miles from Walker’s home in Salisbury, North Carolina.

Related: Phoenix woman Kandis Capri killed as transgender murders continue

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A Latin Kings gang member, Angel Dejesus Arias, 23, was arrested and charged with killing Walker and stealing her car, reports said on Thursday. He was being held without bond.

Amid reports from Detroit, Texas and Phoenix of the deaths of three more black, transgender women, some observers have placed the number of transgender women killed this year at 16.

In a statement, transgender Human Rights Campaign staff member Laya Monarez said: “Even as we are seeing an increase in transgender visibility through a range of inspiring national media stories, including Caitlyn Jenner’s, the levels of violence and harassment transgender people face – particularly transgender women and transgender women of color – constitute a national crisis .”

This week, Texas police announced an investigation into the death of 22-year-old Shade Schuler, whose body was found badly decomposed in a field in Dallas. It took almost three weeks to identify her remains.

Activists in Michigan were also asking for help from Detroit law enforcement, after 20-year-old Amber Monroe was shot and killed in a city park. She was the fifth transgender woman to be killed in Palmer Park since 2014.

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In Phoenix on Tuesday night a 35-year-old transgender woman, Kandis Capri, was shot dead .

Walker was reported missing in November 2014, after her family had not heard from her since 24 October, the Salisbury Post reported. Police gave local media information about Walker’s disappearance in an effort to generate leads, but few were forthcoming until Walker’s burnt-out 2000 Pontiac Sunfire was discovered in an open field in Sampson County, police said in a release.

Arias had lived in a house in Salisbury that Walker was known to frequent, before moving to Johnston County, more than 100 miles away, where he was arrested on unrelated drug charges. Rowan County police obtained a search warrant for a Johnston County house, they said. They discovered Walker’s body in a “small depression” behind it.

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Arias will not face hate crimes charges over Walker’s death. North Carolina does not have a hate crimes statute.

Related: LGBT activists call for new focus on violence against transgender community

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Like other police departments around the country, the Rowan County sheriff’s office has repeatedly referred to Walker with the incorrect pronoun “him”, despite it being widely acknowledged that Walker identified as a transgender woman. The department did not return a request for comment.

Condolences for those close to Walker poured on to her Facebook page late this week, after news of Arias’ arrest broke in the local community. Those posting to the page described Walker as joyful.

“My heart hurts because you were such a kind spirit that never bothered anyone,” said one poster, named as Fab Oz, on the page .

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“You always kept a smile on your face regardless of how you felt. I pray your soul rest in peace and justice is served.”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015

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Ken Starr is an awful choice for Trump’s legal team because he’ll look like a hypocrite: Former federal prosecutor

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President Donald Trump has a severe hypocrisy problem, and it has extended to his legal team. In a CNN explainer answering legal questions from viewers, former state and federal prosecutor Eli Honig explained that the choice of Ken Starr for Trump's legal team was a terrible idea.

Trump has chosen lawyers that are like a Fox News legal discussion panel. Pat Cipollone, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Wray, Pam Bondi and Jay Sekulow are all key people Trump has called on to defend him. But one person stands out, Honig explained. Ken Starr.

"He may emerge as a symbol of hypocrisy," Honig said. "He was the independent counsel who pursued Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Ken Starr turned over Heaven and Earth in his investigation of Bill Clinton. He talked to everyone who ever had known Monica Lewinsky, ex-boyfriends, teachers, window washers. And here he's going to say you shouldn't be hearing from primary witnesses?"

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‘Comparing yourself to terrorists?’ Internet cracks up at Trump saying dead 9-11 hijackers got more justice than him

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President Donald Trump quoted Fox News host Mark Levin that left many scratching their heads. Levin, who has a show on Sunday evenings, claimed that the terrorists from Sept. 11 got more due process than the president.

The claim was a curious one because, as many on Twitter noted, it's not often that the president of the United States compares himself to a terrorist. Secondly, the 9-11 hijackers all died in the attack, as they were on the planes that crashed into the buildings and into a Pennsylvania field.

Trump is known to quote Levin frequently, though the citations often make the president look worse.

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If people of color showed up to a Capitol protest heavily armed — Trump would call them terrorists: commentator

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Legal analyst Areva Martin explained in a CNN panel discussion Sunday that the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday has historically been a day in which white supremacists rear their ugly heads with racist protests and other public displays of bigotry. Monday's expected rally of racist gun nuts expected at the Virginia capitol is no different.

Colorblind author Tim Wise said that it's a whole different level with pro-gun activists. He noted that there was a message from the NRA that former President Barack Obama was going to take everyone's guns away. Of course, that never happened, but it was part of the narrative to scare sensible gun owners. Now, President Donald Trump is employing the same idea, saying that the rally of racists in Virginia is being spun by the president as another Democratic power-grab. Wise called it a kind of "front-lash" instead of "backlash."

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