TYLER, Texas — A 21-year-old East Texas man has been sentenced to life in prison for the killing of a transgender woman. Smith County prosecutor Jacob Putman told the Lufkin Daily News that the evidence implicating Carlton Champion Jr. included Champion’s DNA being found in a car belonging to Ty Underwood.
Putnam says blood found on Champion’s jacket also linked him to the Jan. 26 shooting of the 24-year-old Underwood. An arrest affidavit indicates Champion may have killed Underwood after she confronted him about seeing someone else.
Tyler police have disputed claims that he killed Underwood after discovering she was transgender. Champion was convicted Thursday in the death and prosecutors relied on text messages between the two to show he misled investigators.