New details released in murder of transgender woman
(KLTV.COM) TYLER, Texas – A man charged in the murder of a transgender woman had previously had a relationship with the woman, according to an arrest affidavit.
The affidavit, filed Feb. 6 and obtained Monday, reveals new details in the shooting death of Tyrone “Nunee” Underwood.
Underwood’s body was found in Jan. 26 in the 400 block of West 24th Street in Tyler after officers were called to the scene of a wreck. When police arrived, they discovered the driver of the vehicle had been shot. Underwood was pronounced dead at the scene.
Carlton Ray Champion Jr. was arrested on Jan. 29 for violation for his probation in an unrelated incident and booked into Gregg County Jail. He was charged with first degree murder in Underwood’s death on Monday.
After the incident, police questioned Underwood’s roommate and discovered that Underwood had been dating a man named “Carlton” who played football for Texas College. When police located Champion and interviewed him, he admitted that he had been communicating with a person named “Tyra” through the mobile app Kik. He said he’d last spoken with Underwood around 11 pm. on Jan. 25.
Tyler Police Department investigators searched Underwood’s phone and found conversations between the two dating back to Jan. 19. The messages indicated that the two had sexual relations. Investigators also found messages from Jan. 26 showing Underwood and Champion made plans to meet.
At 8:27 pm. on Jan. 25 the two made plans to meet. According to records, Champion said he fell asleep. Underwood became upset and sent a message saying she no longer wanted to see Champion. He asked Underwood to come and pick him up.
“That’s how it is now? I will make it up,” Champion responded.
Underwood texted back, “Carlton bro you saw me kiking you at 11:00 but you chose to be with whoever you was with and no (sic) you think you can just *expletive* with me when you want. … Na *expletive* this I ain’t done I’m on my way up there, where you gone be at?!?!?”
At 1:39 am. on Jan. 26 the two exchanged a series of messages about plans to meet on 25th Street.
After reading the messages, investigators again questioned Champion, asking why he initially lied about his activity and conversations with Underwood. He became defensive and uncooperative, according to the report. He was arrested Jan. 29 for a probation violation warrant in Gregg County.
Video police obtained from the college shows Champion leaving a dorm building at 2:13 am. wearing a camouflage jacket and returning around 2:27 am., around the time the murder was believed to have occurred. Champion’s jacked also tested positive for blood. He was again questioned by police and shown the photos and still denied leaving the dorm room.
The incident is not considered a hate crime, according to the department.
At the time of Underwood’s death, friends spoke about the incident.
“He’s such an amazing person. I don’t think anyone would want to hurt him. He was sweet. He was a caring person. Ty was just really sweet,” says Antonio.