Sex orientation eyed as motive in 2 NJ slayings

October 22, 2010 4:50:31 PM PDT
Victoria Carmen White was born James White.

She had completed gender reassignment surgeries and began living her new life as a 28-year-old woman.

White was shot dead September 12th inside a Jacoby Street apartment in Maplewood during an after party with people she had met earlier at a nightclub.

"I was reading the paper and I said, 'Oh my God, not another one,'" Leslie Farber said.

Farber, an attorney with Garden State Equality, says it's an ongoing battle trying to prevent violence against those who are gay or transgender.

"It's been going on so much for so long. It's got to stop. People have got to realize this is not acceptable behavior," she said.

She's offering a 2 thousand dollar reward leading to the arrest of the men accused of murdering White.

The suspects are identified as 25 year old Marquise Foster of North Plainfield and 23 year old Alrashim Chambers of Newark.

The Essex County Prosecutor is considering White's murder as a hate crime. Downey met Staten in a telephone chat service that has a "gay portion," he said.

Laurino just put John Staten of Orange behind bars in another hate crime case also in Maplewood. Staten, 30, is accused in the March 2010 murder of Arthur Downey inside Downey's Henry Place apartment.

There was no answer at the home on Friday. Downey's roommate found him in the bed beaten to death. Staten was arrested Tuesday. He is held on $1 million bail

"The victim and the suspect met through the telephone chat room," Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert Laurino said.

Maplewood's police chief says his force will aggressively pursue any offenses against the town's gay and transgender community.