A Metro Detroit pastor was ordered by a judge Friday to stand trial in the death of a transgender Detroit woman.
Albert Weathers, 46, of Sterling Heights will be tried for open murder in the Dec.7 slaying of Kelly Stough, 36, of Detroit, Judge Michael Wagner ruled at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing in 36th District Court.
Weathers told Detroit Police that he shot Stough, also known as Keanna Mattel, in self-defense. During a portion of a 2 ½-hour long video of police questioning Weathers about the shooting, the pastor also tells police the shooting was accidental.
After initially telling police “I was protecting myself” when he shot Stough, Weathers said the shooting, which occurred around 6 a.m. near McNichols and Brush, was accidental.
“My intent was not to discharge my weapon,” said Weathers. “It went off by mistake.”
Stough died of a single gunshot wound in her left underarm, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Weathers said he grabbed his .40-caliber Glock because Stough jumped into his car and demanded money. He said he told her to leave his car and that Stough later came at him with a sharp metal object.
Weathers went on to his job in downtown Detroit as a security guard for the Great Lakes Water Authority and called to report the incident as a robbery and shooting about an hour later.
Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Jaimie Powell Horowitz said Weathers knew Stough and had frequented the area where the shooting took place. The area of McNichols and Woodward is an area frequented by sex workers and their customers.
Kyra Butts, a self-proclaimed sex worker, testified during the first day of Weathers’ preliminary hearing Feb. 25 that Weathers routinely sought out “dates” in the Six Mile and Woodward area. Butts said she stopped going on “dates” with Weathers because he would give the transgender women “the run around” when it came to paying her.
Weathers said he was in the West McNichols and Brush area that morning in December to look for a Marathon station, where he liked to purchase a certain grade of gasoline. He said he was headed to work when Stough jumped into his vehicle and tried to rob him.
Weathers said Stough told him to “shoot me…shoot me” when he raised his gun at her after he saw her with a metal object. He said the gun went off when the two tussled.
But Horowitz said the shooting was an argument over money.
“The aggressor in this case has always been Mr. Weathers,” said Horowitz. “The first person to produce a weapon is Mr. Weathers. Mr. Weathers’ priority is getting to work and not getting caught.”
Weathers could have chosen a “million other options,” the prosecutor said.
“She was disposable,” said Horowitz. “He threw her out like trash and left her to die in the streets.”
Friday’s hearing was the third day of the preliminary examination for Weathers, who is pastor of the Logos Church in Detroit.
Weathers’ defense attorney David Cripps asked the judge to bound his client over on lesser charges, saying the prosecution had not demonstrated enough evidence to try him for murder.
“It was not self-defense so much as it was an accidental shooting,” said Cripps. “This isn’t an intentional shooting. I would ask the court to look at this as an accidental shooting. My client said it over and over again he was trying to get (Stough) away from the vehicle when the gun went off.”
Cripps said the “suggestion of prostitution” was an attempt to “mislead” in the case.
“This was an accidental discharge of a firearm after … an attempt to rob my client of money,” the defense attorney said.
But Horowitz argued, “you don’t see any fighting in this video” between Weathers and Stough.
“He could have done multiple actions. He could have done so many things to get (Stough) out of his car,” said Horowitz.
Wagner denied Cripps’ request for a reduction of Weathers’ $1 million cash bond, saying what “stands out” for him is that Weathers left Stough after he shot her.
The judge likened Weathers’ action to that of a “sociopath” and “a person who has no heart … no soul.”
Weathers is due back in court for an arraignment on information April 5.