Dallas police arrested a suspect on Thursday for the recent murder of a transgender woman and said the motive was robbery -- not hate.
Police tracked down Jimmy Eugene Johnson III, 24, in Walker County where he is now jailed for murder. They are working to transport him back to Dallas.
Police say Johnson met the victim Carla Flores-Pavon, 26, in an online chat room. They don’t believe the victim was targeted for being transgender.
“They had some interaction on a chat,” said Dallas Police Deputy Chief Thomas Castro. “I won’t get into specifics but that how they connected with one another.”
Castro says Johnson went over to Pavon's North Dallas apartment on May 9 with the intention of stealing her valuables. Investigators say he had some of her items in her car. Pavon was found strangled inside her apartment.
“She was not targeted because of her transgender lifestyle,” Castro said. “This motive was simply robbery.”
After investigators identified Johnson as their suspect, sheriff deputies in Walker County located him in his vehicle and arrested him.
Chief Castro says Johnson agreed to speak to detectives.
“During the interview, it was revealed that property was stolen from the victim during the commission of the murder offense,” the chief explained.
Leslie McMurray, who is an advocate for the transgender community, says some of the new details change the level of worry in the community.
“I think it lessens the concern a little bit because the last thing we want are people running around and killing us just because of raw hatred or just the fact that they despise us,” she said.
“We're glad someone is in custody and hopefully we can now turn to the person who was found in White Rock Creek and see what happened to them,” she said.
The medical examiner still hasn't determined the cause of death in the White Rock Creek case.
At this point, Dallas police aren't saying what they believe may have prompted Johnson to murder Pavon. His most recent address comes back to the Houston area. Dallas police say he has no criminal history with their department.
Investigators say the charge could be upgraded to capital murder. Johnson is being held on a $500,000 bond.