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Pastor Accompanies Man Confessing To Transgender Woman's Murder

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A man turned himself in to police yesterday for the murder of a transgender woman on Saturday morning.

Ezekiel Dear, 25, showed up at the LAPD 77th Station in Van Nuys yesterday afternoon at about 3:30 p.m, ABC 7 reports. Accompanying him was a local pastor. LAPD Capt. Lillian Carranza told KCAL that Dear had gone to the pastor for help, and that the pastor then took him to the police station where Dear surrendered.

Dear was the boyfriend of Yazmin Vash Payne, a 33-year-old transgender woman who was discovered dead by firefighters in an apartment in the 14600 block of Saticoy Street in Van Nuys that the couple shared. Fire crews responded at about 5 a.m. on Saturday morning to a fire in the apartment, extinguished a small fire in a bedroom and discovered Payne's body in the kitchen. She had been stabbed several times and was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities found the murder weapon in the apartment.

Neighbors said that the couple, who had only recently moved into the building, fought constantly and had been arguing the night before the fire.

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Payne's first name was initially reported by police as Michelle, and some had known the victim as Michael Vash Payne, KPCC reports. A vigil was held outside Payne's apartment yesterday evening, with many protesting violence against transgender people. Darlene Nipper, Deputy Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, said, "Three transgender women of color have been killed in the last four months in Los Angeles and there seems to be no end in sight to these tragic homicides," City News Service reports. Investigators are regarding Payne's murder as an act of domestic violence.