Arrest in Murder of Transgender Woman Kiesha Jenkins

The suspect pleaded guilty to aggravated assault just one year ago.

Kiesha Jenkins (left) via Facebook. Suspect Pedro Redding (right) in Philadelphia Police Department photo.

Kiesha Jenkins (left) via Facebook. Suspect Pedro Redding (right) in a Philadelphia Police Department photo.

[UPDATE 10/12/2015 3:35 p.m.] On Monday afternoon, Philadelphia Homicide Captain James Clark gave a press conference on the arrest of Pedro Redding for the murder of Kiesha Jenkins. Clark explained that while Redding’s previous arrest history includes the alleged robbery of a transgender woman (those charges were later withdrawn), there is no indication that Jenkins’s status as a transgender woman played a part in her murder. “This is not a hate crime at all,” said Clark. He also amended the number of perpetrators from the “five or six” previously reported to four and said that Redding is cooperating with the investigation into finding the other three. Clark further downplayed speculation that Jenkins’s involvement in sex work — she had a 2014 arrest for prostitution — was directly related to her shooting.

[ORIGINAL] Less than a week after transgender woman Kiesha Jenkins was gunned down in North Philadelphia, police say they have a suspect in custody and that robbery appears to have been the motive.

24-year-old Hunting Park resident Pedro Redding has been charged with murder and conspiracy as well as multiple firearms offenses. At Redding’s preliminary hearing in the early morning hours on Monday, bail was denied. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for October 28th. 

Jenkins, 22, was assaulted by five or six men at the intersection of 13th and Wingohocking streets after she exited a vehicle around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 6th. She was shot in the back and killed.

In 2014, Redding was charged with aggravated assault. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years probation. Earlier that year, he was charged with terroristic threats, but that case was withdrawn after the complaining witness failed to appear in court. Aggravated assault charges filed against him in 2009 were also withdrawn.

According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Jenkins is at least the 20th transgender woman and the 18th transgender woman of color killed in the United States since the beginning of the year. It is unclear if Jenkins’ status as a transgender woman played a role in her murder.

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