Man pleads not guilty in transgender woman's death

Man pleads not guilty in transgender woman's death
(Source: Smith County Jail)
(Source: Smith County Jail)
Tyrone Underwood (Source: Tyler Police Department)
Tyrone Underwood (Source: Tyler Police Department)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A man charged in the death of a transgender woman has pleaded not guilty.

Carlton Ray Champion, Jr., 21, of Longview is charged with first degree murder in the death of Tyrone Lee Underwood. Champion was arrested on Jan. 29 by police on a probation violation.

Investigators learned that Champion and Underwood were in a brief relationship prior to the murder. Electronic and video evidence was located that supported that Champion was meeting Underwood on the date and time of when the murder took place.

On Jan. 26, Tyler police were dispatched to a traffic accident in the 400 block of W. 24th Street in Tyler. When they arrived, they found a vehicle and crashed into a telephone pole. Underwood, the driver of the vehicle, had been shot and was pronounced dead at the scene.

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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.

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