Transgender teen killed 3 days after cooperating with police
January 6, 2012 at 7:12 am
By Francis X. Donnelly
The Detroit News
Detroit-- Three days before a transgender teen died, she made a decision that might have cost her her life.
Shelley Hilliard, 19, was about to be arrested for possession of marijuana Oct. 20 when police offered a way out, according to testimony during a court hearing Thursday. She could set up a drug deal.
With the police listening on speaker phone, Hilliard used her cellphone to call Qasim Raqib, telling him she had someone (an undercover agent) who wanted to buy $335 worth of cocaine and marijuana, according to testimony during Raqib's preliminary examination Thursday in 36th District Court.
When Raqib arrived at the Motel 6 in Madison Heights 20 minutes later, police arrested him.
Raqib, 30, of Detroit, was released several hours later. Three days later, the mutilated body of Hilliard was discovered ablaze in the street on Detroit's east side.
Raqib was charged with the murder. His preliminary exam resumes Jan. 13.
During the hearing, testimony suggested two days after his arrest, Raqib bought a prepaid cellphone that he used to lure Hilliard to her death.
The next day, Hilliard received a call to meet a man at 1 a.m. at 933 Longfellow St.
She was driven to the site by Robert Mullen, a taxi driver who testified during the hearing that he took Hilliard on all her calls.
During the drive, Hilliard told Mullen she was worried about payback by Raqib for turning him in. Mullen arrived at the dark neighborhood to find three people, but couldn't identify them.
Soon after dropping Hilliard off, Mullen got a call from her sounding scared, testified Mullen. The phone then sounded like it fell to the ground and went dead, he said.
He returned to 933 Longfellow but there was no sign of Hilliard or the three other people, he said.
Mullen tried to call Hilliard several times. At first, the calls rang before going to voicemail. They then went directly to voicemail, suggesting the phone had been turned off.
Her burned body was discovered 3½ hours later on a service road along Interstate 94.
Two days later, Mullen and Hilliard's mother, Lyneice Nelson, went to police to fill out a missing person's report.
An impassive Raqib, in cornrows and prison greens, is charged with first-degree murder and mutilation.