Hundreds Pay Tribute to Life of Trans Woman Killed in Violent Crime

MORRISVILLE, Vermont (WCAX) — Hundreds of Vermonters gathered Saturday to remember a 29-year-old Hinesburg trans woman who police say was brutally murdered earlier this week.

The Vermont Pride Center held a vigil for Fern Feather in Morrisville, and Rep. Rey Garofano, D-Chittenden, of Essex held a rally at Essex Junction.

“A lover of animals and fun and friends. A ray of sunshine that was taken from us all prematurely, said one commenter.

Plume is described by those close to her as an exuberant lover of life. Hundreds of friends, strangers and community members gathered at Oxbow Park in Morrisville to honor Feather’s life.

Feather is a transgender woman who, according to those close to her, uses many different pronouns, including she/her, he/him, and they/them.

Some knew Feather well, such as Feather’s partner Jennifer Thoma of Hardwick and her friend Vinny.

“He was an amazing person who brought so much light, love, authenticity and magic to this world,” Thoma said.

“Fern had a way of making everyone feel so seen and so known, even in brief moments with them,” Vinny said.

Wolcott’s Donna Underwood Owens says she’s one of many people who had brief but impactful moments with Feather. “She remembered that I raised goats, and we started talking. We talked for three hours,” she said.

The friendship circle allowed people to celebrate Fern and trans pride at a time when the Vermont Pride Center says derogatory rhetoric against transgender people is on the rise.

“Holding this unity circle felt like a really important moment, especially in the midst of all the national rhetoric aimed at our people, all of our gender diverse beautiful people, and Fern was someone who represented how much the genre could be fluid and beautifully diverse,” said Kell Arbor of the Vermont Pride Center.

And about an hour away, a rally at Essex Junction sent a similar message. Dozens of Vermonters holding signs and waving flags showed their solidarity with trans people, their friends and family while hundreds of honking drivers voiced their support.

“I think in Vermont, although there are a lot of things going on in the country that really put trans people at risk, we’d like to believe that here in Vermont we don’t have the same issues, but here in Vermont, this is coming right to our doorstep,” said Eileen Blackwood of Burlington.

“We’re going to push everything we have to make sure trans people have what they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives so they reach adulthood, old age, and beyond,” Samuel added. Kernan by Winooski.

Fern Feather was reportedly stabbed to death Tuesday night in Morristown.

The accused killer, Seth Brunell, 43, claims it was in self-defence, but police say they have found no evidence of a struggle. Brunell pleaded not guilty in court and is being held without bond.

Brunell was not charged with a hate crime. Prosecutors say they don’t have enough evidence to support that charge, but say if they do, they will add it.

Related stories:

Morristown murder suspect pleads not guilty

Vermont man faces second-degree murder charge for stabbing to death

Police arrest suspect in Morristown homicide, victim ID

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