Crime

Gang member: ‘Her spirit is screaming for revenge’

She fell in love with a man who would later kill her

Transgender teenager Mercedes Williamson's friends and family recall her relationship with Joshua Vallum. Vallum would go on to kill Williamson.
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Transgender teenager Mercedes Williamson's friends and family recall her relationship with Joshua Vallum. Vallum would go on to kill Williamson.

Murderer Josh Vallum was so haunted by the teen he killed that he tried to kill himself, a note found by George County jailers suggests.

Just days after the Latin Kings gang member was arrested in the killing of transgender teen Mercedes Williamson, jail workers found him in his cell with a braided bedsheet wrapped around his neck.

They also found a suicide note, in which Vallum said he’d been “living a nightmare” since he stabbed and beat the 17-year-old to death in May 2015.

In the letter, Vallum apologized to his father for all the “heartache” he had caused him, and to his mother for the “hateful and hurtful things” he had said to her over the years.

Vallum also addressed his fellow Latin Kings directly regarding Williamson’s killing, saying the murder haunted him. “To my Nation and my brothers and sisters, it will always be Amor de Rey y Reina y Corona (meaning Love King and Queen and Crown)! I just can’t take this anymore. I see her face and hear her voice.

“Her spirit is screaming for revenge,” he wrote. “I’m living a nightmare. It’s like a horror movie. I killed her and now she’s not gonna stop until she has killed me. I love all of you. I’m so sorry.”

To Williamson’s family, he wrote: “I wish I could go back in time. I would have done things differently. I’m sorry for your loss and your pain. Maybe my death will at least bring you some small amount of comfort.”

As more evidence surfaced in the case and his fellow gang members were called on to testify, Vallum decided to plead guilty to murder by deliberate design, meaning he planned Williamson’s killing. He entered the plea just days before he was set to go to trial in July.

A judge sentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

A federal investigation is pending to determine if Vallum will also face a hate crime charge. Vallum has talked openly to the Sun Herald about his fear of facing a federal hate crime charge because, he says, in the federal system, “life means life.”

Margaret Baker: 228-896-0538, @Margar45

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