In 2017, a Jackson, Michigan home burned to the ground resulting in the deaths of five pets. Nikki Joly, a 54-year-old transgender person and gay rights activist, resided in the house at the time but did not own it.
The event was initially reported to the FBI as a hate crime, but what they recently discovered during their investigation has sent shock waves throughout the community: The primary suspect of the arson case is none other than Nikki Joly himself.
Authorities are still trying to determine the suspect’s M.O., but believe Joly may have wanted to garner attention and sympathy from fellow residents of Jackson, a mostly conservative town, as well as amplify the victimhood “spotlight” on people of a certain sexual orientation.
The Detroit News reports:
In the prior six months, he helped open the city’s first gay community center, organized the first gay festival and, after 18 years of failed attempts, helped lead a bruising battle for an ordinance that prohibits discrimination against gays.
For his efforts, a local paper named him the Citizen of the Year.
Two people who worked with Joly at St. Johns United Church of Christ, where the Jackson Pride Center was located, said he had been frustrated the controversy over gay rights had died down with the passage of the nondiscrimination law, according to [a police] report.
The church officials, Barbara Shelton and Bobby James, when asked by police about a possible motive for the fire, said Joly was disappointed the Jackson Pride Parade and Festival, held five days before the blaze, hadn’t received more attention or protests.
Travis Trombley, another gay resident of Jackson, called the revelation “embarrassing.”
“How do you do it to the community you have put so much effort into helping?”
Daniel Barnett, Joly’s attorney, claims the defendant “already had lots of attention for his gay rights activism” and wasn’t looking for more.
“It doesn’t make sense. He was Citizen of the Year. There was plenty of media coverage already before the fire,” explained Barnett in a media interview.
Joly’s hearing is scheduled to occur next month in a Jackson County Circuit Court.
Main Image Credit: Fox47, Red State, Pink News