LUCEDALE, Miss. (AP) – A George County man has been indicted on a new first-degree murder charge in the killing of a transgender teen.
WLOX-TV reports a grand jury indicted 28-year-old Josh Vallum on a charge of deliberate design murder in the death of 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson, born Michael Wilkins, of Theodore, Alabama.
Vallum initially faced a first-degree murder charge. The new charge means Vallum allegedly beat the teen with the intent to kill her.
The Sun Herald reports authorities served Vallum with the new indictment Thursday, shortly before a pre-trial hearing was set to begin.
He’s been in custody on a $1 million bond since his June 2, 2015, arrest – the day Williamson’s body was found buried in a field behind Vallum’s father’s home in the Rocky Creek community.