Man found guilty of killing transgender woman in 2016

Monica Loera (Photo showed during murder trial)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Texas jury found JonCasey Rowell, 30, guilty in the murder of Monica Loera after deliberating for three hours.

Loera, 43, was shot to death at her apartment in north Austin on Jan. 22, 2016.

On the night of the shooting, police say Loera gave Rowell directions to her home because he had “forgotten his jacket,” according to an arrest affidavit.

Loera’s roommate told police the man kept knocking on the door and Loera said she “was going to get rid of him,” because she “didn’t want to mess with him.” When the victim went to open the door, the roommate said he heard a sound like a firecracker and Loera said, “he shot me.”

JonCasey Rowell at his murder trial on Oct. 31, 2017. (KXAN Photo)

During the investigation, the roommate indicated to police Loera was a “prostitute from time to time” and sometimes would steal things from her clients, the court documents continued. Through cellphone records, detectives determined the person Loera had contact with prior to the shooting was Rowell.

During the trial, family members spoke about Loera’s transition to a woman. Austin police initially released her name as David Loera, leading to a City Council resolution to improve how the Police Department identifies transgender victims.

The trial started last week. Rowell could face up to 99 years in prison.

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