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Pastor says transgender woman he shot tried to rob him

George Hunter
The Detroit News
Pastor Albert Weathers listens to testimony in 36th District Court in Detroit during a preliminary hearing in the death of Kelly Stough, Feb. 25, 2019.

The man accused of killing a transgender Detroit woman told police he was defending himself against an armed robbery when he pulled out his .40 caliber pistol and fired one fatal shot.

A video of a detective's interview was played Monday in Detroit's 36th District Court during the second day of testimony in the preliminary examination of Albert Weathers, a Sterling Heights pastor who is accused of killing 36-year-old Kelly Stough on Dec. 7 near McNichols and Brush.

Weathers, 46, is charged with open murder. Monday's hearing concluded without 36th District Judge Michael E. Wagner binding the case over for trial. The judge ordered the video of the interview to stop at the 52-minute mark, because the court was about to close, and he needed permission from the union to go beyond 4:30 p.m.

The exam is scheduled to reconvene at 1:30 p.m. on March 29. Prosecutors said they had one more witness scheduled to testify.

Stough, also known as Keanna Mattel, died of a single gunshot wound in her left underarm. Assistant Wayne County Medical Examiner Dr. David Moons ruled Stough's death a homicide.

Weathers claims Stough tried to rob him after he dropped his daughter off at school. He said Stough jumped in his vehicle and asked for money.

During Monday's hearing, Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Jaime Powell Horowitz played audio of Weathers calling police an hour after the shooting to report he'd fired his pistol.

"I’m wanting to report an (undecipherable) … robbery," Weathers told the dispatcher. "I was a little shaken up. I’m a CPL holder; I may have hit the individual."

The dispatcher asked: “What do you mean, you may have hit the individual? You mean shot him?”

“Yes," Weathers replied. "They pulled … a blade. I pulled my weapon out … it appeared to be a female, but when the voice came through it was a male."

Also on Monday, prosecutors played a video of Detroit police homicide detective Jason Mays interviewing Weathers at Public Safety Headquarters. Weathers reiterated that he shot Stough in self-defense.

"“It’s a bad situation," Weathers began. "I dropped my daughter off … I stopped at the gas station. I’m familiar with the church that was adjacent from this location.” He said the gas station was no longer a Marathon station, so he wanted to go to another gas station.

“That’s when this individual who appeared to be female, but when they spoke it was a male voice, came up," he said. "I rolled the window down thinking they were in distress or needed assistance. That was my fault.

"As I rolled the window down, that individual unlocked the door and proceeded to get into my vehicle," Weathers said. "I said, ‘Get out of my vehicle.’ That’s when I pulled my weapon out, to get them out of my vehicle.”

Weathers claimed Stough said "shoot me, shoot me, shoot me," and then brandished a sharp object, saying, "I'll slash your tires.

"I had my weapon in my right hand and ... my cell phone in the other hand," Weathers said. "I was trying to call 911. Then that person was coming at me ...

"Then we got to struggling, and that's when I shot," Weathers said. "That person fell to the ground.

"I'm trying to get to work," Weathers told the cop. "I want to get back to my family. So I jumped out (of his car); that’s when they jumped out as well. I already know they went into their bag for something; that’s when I pulled my weapon."

In earlier testimony Monday, Highland Park police Sgt. Heather Holcomb said she responded to a 911 call about a female lying prone near McNichols and Brush.

"I observed a spent casing near the female and I observed a sharp object in her right hand," Holcomb said. "I could tell she wasn’t breathing; she was cold to the touch.”

During the first day of testimony in Weathers' exam on Feb. 25, a self-admitted sex worker testified Feb. 25 that Weathers routinely sought out "dates" in the Six Mile and Woodward area.

Kyra Butts, a transgender woman, testified in 36th District Court that  Weathers frequented the Palmer Park area and patronized her and other prostitutes, many of whom are transgender women. 

"He was one of the guys that I hooked up with," Butts said. "He would drive around a lot before he would pick someone up."

Butts said she stopped going on "dates" with Weathers because he would give her the "run around" when it came to how much she would be paid for her services.