The Murder of Transgender Teen Mercedes Williamson

She died in a brutal hate crime and her ex-boyfriend was the killer

Anita Durairaj
4 min readJun 7, 2021


Mercedes Williamson (Image Source)

Michael Christopher Wilkins was born on September 10, 1997, in Gulf Shores, Alabama. At the age of 14, he transitioned from male to female and changed his name to Mercedes Williamson.

Williamson was a happy teenager. She had dreams of becoming a cosmetologist and she enjoyed spending time outdoors. However, at some point, she became estranged from her parents, dropped out of high school, and moved alone from Gulf Shores to the town of Theodore. During this time, she dated Josh Brandon Vallum, age 28.

On May 30, 2015, Williamson was found murdered by Vallum. She was beaten and stabbed. She was only 17 years old when she died.

Why did Vallum murder Williamson and did it have anything to do with the fact that she was transgender?

The murder

Vallum and Williamson had an affectionate and open relationship. They dated for eight months before breaking up.

On the day of the murder, Vallum picked up Williamson from Dauphin Island, Alabama. Even though they had broken up for some months, he told her that he was taking her somewhere private just to have sex.

Vallum drove from Alabama into Mississippi. It was then that Williamson became suspicious and asked him where he was taking her.

Vallum drove to his father’s property in Mississippi which was an isolated wooded area. He got out of the car and as Williamson got out of the passenger seat, he went over to her, shocked her with a stun gun, and then started stabbing her with a knife. Williamson tried to run away from him but he caught her and continued to stab her. He dealt the final blow by using a hammer to beat Williamson to death.

Right after Vallum murdered Williamson, he burned his clothes and threw away the stun gun, knife, and hammer over a bridge.

A day after the murder, he told his family that he killed someone and buried the body on his father’s property. When his brother asked him what happened, he replied “Well, it was my life or his.”



Anita Durairaj

A fan of murder mysteries and writing about true crime.