A Prince George’s County, Maryland, man learned Wednesday he’ll serve nearly 50 years behind bars for murdering a transgender woman.
Prosecutors said now-29-year-old DeAllen Price was in an intimate relationship with 20-year-old Taya Ashton when she was killed in July of 2021. Prosecutors said Price spoke during Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, telling the court that when he first learned Ashton was not a biological female, he reacted and shot her.
“That was just a chilling thing to hear,” Prince George’s County Assistant State’s Attorney Sherrie Waldrup said. “It’s horrifying. It’s unacceptable. It certainly is not an excuse or a justification for what happened to Taya.”
Price was sentenced Wednesday to 60 years in prison, with all but 48 of those years suspended.
Police arrested Price after he ran onto the tracks inside a Metrorail tunnel in Arlington, Virginia, the day after Ashton’s body was found inside her Suitland apartment. The gun that police said was used in the killing was also found inside the tunnel, which was near the Pentagon City station.
At the time of his arrest, Price also had a bag that had been taken from Ashton’s apartment, according to police.
“Taya was somebody who was loved by her family and who loved her family immensely,” Waldrup said. “Taya was somebody who, although being part of what some may consider a marginalized community, was not marginalized in how she interacted with Prince George’s County. She was an asset to Prince George’s County.”
During an online news conference following Wednesday’s sentencing, State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy cited Human Rights Campaign data showing that at least 32 transgender or gender expansive people were killed in 2023 — more than 80% of them were people of color.
Braveboy said seeking justice for this community has been a point of emphasis since the start of her administration.
“That’s why we created the very first LGBTQIA+ task force,” she said. “This was the first of its kind in Prince George’s County, and we promise to advocate inside and outside of the courtroom for all people.”
With Wednesday’s sentence, Braveboy said justice was secured for Ashton and her family. “Her death represents so much more in terms of our level of tolerance in our community for people who want to express themselves and live their lives on their own terms. And anyone who chooses to do that should be respected.”
WTOP’s John Domen contributed to this report.