Winter Haven man found guilty of murder in death of Mercedes Successful

By : Amanda Espinosa
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Haines City, Fla. | The trial over the death of a Central Florida transgender woman concluded with her killer being found guilty of first-degree murder Dec. 20.

A Polk County jury deliberated for less than five hours before convicting 19-year-old Re’shaunte Jermaines Anglin for the 2016 murder of 32-year-old drag entertainer Mercedes Successful. Jurors also found Anglin guilty of robbery and tampering with physical evidence.

Anglin, who faces life in prison, will have his sentence determined by Circuit Judge Jalal Harb since at the time of the murder Anglin was a minor. No sentencing date has been set.

According to Lakeland’s The Ledger, Marva MacIntosh—Successful’s mother—broke down into tears after hearing the verdict and exclaimed, “Thank you Jesus.”

Successful—who was identified by her dead name and male pronouns in several local media reports and police statements at the time of her death—was from Haines City but performed in many LGBTQ pageants throughout the country.

She was found, shot to death, by a dumpster at a Haines City shopping plaza on May 15, 2016 around 7 p.m. Her pockets were emptied, making it look like it was a robbery and her vehicle was found, with blood on the seat, nearby in Lake Alfred.

Anglin and 23-year-old Ray Leon Walker were arrested for the murder of Successful in Oct. 2017.

During the trial, Assistant State Attorney Bonde Johnson informed the jury that while there was no DNA or fingerprints to show Anglin being at the scene, there were cellphone records which showed Anglin and Successful were communicating.

According to court testimony, Successful—who was also referred to by her dead name during the trial—had been communicating via text message with plans to meet Anglin the day of the murder.

“Witnesses can be wrong. They can have opinions, they can have motives, they can have bias, they can have prejudice, they can have faulty memories,” Johnson said during the trial, according to The Ledger. “But all this electronic data doesn’t have any of that. It just has facts.”

Records of the text messages between Successful and Anglin suggested the two had a romantic relationship. The messages also showed evidence of Walker’s involvement after the fact.

Walker has been charged with accessory after the fact of a capital felony and tampering with physical evidence. Walker’s trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 4.

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