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Ex-Con Beats Trans Woman Chyna Carrillo to Death

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday February 23, 2021

Chyna Carillo
Chyna Carillo  (Source:Chyna Carillo / Facebook)

The year's toll in deaths resulting from violence targeting transgender women rose to seven with the beating death of Chyna Carillo in Pennsylvania, reported local news channel KIRO.

Carillo, 24, died Feb. 18 after being beaten by a 33-year-old former Marine named Juan Carter Hernández, news sources said. Hernández had pled guilty to, and been jailed for, the killing of his wife, Kandace Hernández, who died in 2011 in North Carolina, Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA reported.

Police had been called to a home in New Wilmington, where the perpetrator was beating Carillo in the yard with what the police report said was a "blunt object."

Police ordered Hernández to stop. When he did not, an officer fired a single round, killing him. Carillo was taken to a hospital, where she later died.

KDKA reported that Hernández had been "sentenced for 8-10 years" for killing his wife. He was released in 2019.

KDKA reached out to Tammy Larew, the mother of Kandace Hernández, who, the news channel said, had "wanted a longer sentence" and thought that Carillo would be alive now had he gotten one.

"A few people ask me, 'Do you feel that you got justice now because he's gone?' No," Larew told KDKA. "I mean, he's gone, but he still did what he did to my daughter and to Chyna."

Reports said that friends thought Carillo was dating someone in recent weeks, but it was not clear whether the person in question was Hernández.

Carillo described herself on her Facebook page (where she spelled her name "Chynaa") as a "Proud PreOp TransLatina!"

"According to Chyna's Instagram account, she would have been celebrating her birthday in a few weeks on March 3," noted the Human Rights Campaign, which tracks incidents of lethal anti-trans violence. The HRC went on to add that "Carrillo was a nursing home worker who had moved to Pennsylvania from Arkansas to start a new life.

"Those who knew Carrillo said she was confident, outspoken and unapologetic about who she was."

Last year, the HRC tracked "44 deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people," though the actual number of fatalities stemming from anti-trans violence could well be higher due to misreporting, underreporting, and misgendering.

With seven known trans murder victims so far this year, 2021 could outpace last year in terms of lethal violence directed at trans people. Almost all of the victims have been trans women of color. Tyianna "Davarea" Alexander was shot and killed in Chicago by a gunman in a passing car on Jan. 6; less than a week later, on Jan. 11, the body of Samuel Edmund Damián, a transman, was discovered with numerous bullet wounds in Puerto Rico. Bianca "Muffin" Banks died Jan. 17 in Atlanta, Georgia, after being shot by a man in her home. Dominique Jackson was gunned down in Jackson, Mississippi, on Jan. 25. Fifty Bandz, 21, was shot and killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Jan. 28. Alexus Braxton was found dead in Miami, Florida, on Feb. 4.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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