A Texas man was sentenced to 36 years in prison for the 2019 murder of a transgender woman, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office announced on Wednesday.
Joshua Dominic Bourgeois, 29, pleaded guilty to stabbing Tracy Williams, 22, to death along a Houston freeway on July 30, 2019, and dumping her body in a gas station parking lot. Bourgeois and Williams were in a relationship that Williams wanted to end.
According to local Fox affiliate KRIV, surveillance video showed Bourgeois repeatedly stabbing Williams as they walked along the Katy Freeway. After dumping her body, a bloody Bourgeois ordered a soft drink from the drive-thru window of a nearby McDonald’s and begged other patrons for a ride away from the scene. He left the parking lot and was arrested weeks later.
The case was not prosecuted as a hate crime, but instead classified as a case of deadly domestic violence.
“They were in an on-and-off dating relationship, and it was a situation in which she was ready to leave an abusive relationship and was tragically murdered,” Assistant District Attorney Stephany Abner of the Domestic Violence Division said in a statement. “He was part of the homeless community, and she was part of the transgender community, and this shows that no one is exempt from the dangers of intimate partner violence.”
Investigators had initially not released the identity of Williams, who was also known in the transgender community as Tracy Single, for two weeks when a photo of Williams was released to seek help from the local community. Bourgeois was arrested without incident on Friday, August 23, 2019, and later pled guilty to the charges. In exchange for a guilty plea, additional charges of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, assault on a family member, and assault on a public servant were dropped.
Williams was the oldest of six siblings, and her murder left her mother devastated.
“My child is no longer with me, and I have to deal with this every day,” Joyce Williams earlier told the Houston Chronicle. “I wouldn’t wish this on anybody’s child.”
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence, there is help available. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 800-799-7233. Other resources can be found here.