The man arrested for the stabbing murder of a woman in Arizona uses they/them pronouns and told police that he "wanted to look like her."
Zion Teasley was taken into custody on May 4 for allegedly fatally stabbing 29-year-old Lauren Heike in late April. Police believe Teasley followed Heike as she went for a hike before stabbing her 15 times. Her body was recovered near the home of Teasley, who was recently fired from a sports store for being aggressive to women.
Teasley admitted during interviews with police that he struggles with his sexual identity, AZFamily reported:
Investigators then showed him a picture of Heike, he said he recognized her and "wanted to look like her." Teasley also reportedly spoke up about growing up as a Christian and about how he struggled with his sexuality, saying in part that he feared his soul’s salvation due to his thoughts.
Detectives asked Teasley if he had planned to murder Lauren, to which he responded, "I am definitely not the person who plans to kill another person. If I was going to do something like that, it wouldn’t be premeditated."
The suspect, who was previously arrested in 2020 and spent 16 months in prison, used they/them pronouns on his LinkedIn profile, the Post Millennial reported.
The details come months after transgender shooter Audrey Hale killed six people, including three children, at a private Christian school near Nashville.
After the Nashville killings, media outlets rushed to dismiss the idea that murders by transgender people were rising. "The data tells a different story, according to gender and criminology experts," a fact check from the Associated Press said. "Mass casualty shootings perpetrated by someone identifying as trans or nonbinary are rare, and in fact, those groups are far more likely to be the victims of violence."