A transgender beauty pageant founder was reportedly killed by her husband last week, making her the first transgender person to be murdered in 2018.
Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42, who founded Miss Trans America pageant, was found dead at her home in North Adams, Massachusetts, on Jan. 5.
According to medical examiners who were on the scene, Steele-Knudslien suffered a stab wound to her torso and blunt force trauma to her head. Her body was found wrapped in tarp and bedding and tied up in the basement.
Her husband, Mark Steele-Knudslien, 47, has been charged with her murder. When being interviewed on Jan 5, Mark said he’d “snapped” and done “something very bad”, during which he also said he struck his wife with a hammer and stabbed her with a knife.
During a Monday arraignment, Mark Steele-Knudslien pleaded not guilty to the murder charges. He’s set for a pretrial hearing Feb. 7.
In addition to founding the Miss Trans America pageant, Christa Steele-Knudslien also helped launch the Miss Trans New England pageant and was one of the organizers of the first New England Trans Pride march in 2008. Her death sent shockwaves through New England’s LGBTQ community.