Ally Steinfeld was only 17 years-old. She was openly transgender and living as a female. She had just come out on Instagram a few months ago and her family was just now coming to terms with it and her life was taken.
Ally was born Joseph Matthew Steinfeld and had gone by the name Joey. In a recent interview, her mother, Amber Steinfeld, said she had moved from Licking, Missouri in Texas County to House Springs, which is about two hours north. Ally was couch-surfing, staying with various friends, and occasionally staying with her mother. Amber feels that her daughter was always safe and had plenty to eat. Of course, the attack that took the child's life is evidence that she was anything but safe.
According to the Kansas City Star, Ally was dating 24-year-old Briana Calderas of Cabool, Missouri. According to others who were also arrested, she wanted Ally dead and had discussed it openly for days before the murder. Briana's friend Andrew Vrba admits that his first attempt on Ally's life was poisoning. When Ally refused the drink, he had to revise his plan. He gouged out the young victim's eyes and stabbed her repeatedly in the genitals. Another friend of Briana's, Isis Schauer was sent to Wal-Mart to buy the supplies necessary to dispose of Ally's body. The three friends have been charged with first-degree murder.
A fourth friend, James Grigsby, was involved in the disposal of the body. Again, the group found a terribly gruesome way to treat Ally. There were blood stains in the living room carpet and human remains in a burn pile on the property. All four were charged with abandonment of a corpse and armed criminal action.
According to the Huffington Post, the officials investigating the homicide have stated that they feel there is no basis for a hate crime prosecution, which is an option in the state of Missouri. The addition of hate crime charges would not lead to a tougher sentence because first-degree murder carries a penalty of either execution or life in prison.
Do you feel the case should be reviewed again for possible hate crime charges? Are you bothered that under-aged Ally was not with her family, but living a transient lifestyle a couple of hours away from them? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by The Kansas City Star via Texas County Sheriff's Office/AP]