- Police have accused Nikki Joly, 54, of burning down his home in Jackson, Michigan, with a fire that killed his two dogs and three cats in August 2017.
- According to a police report obtained by The Detroit News, police believe he may have burned down the home because there were no gay rights controversies to campaign against in Jackson.
- In the months prior to the fire, Joly helped open Jackson’s first gay community center and organised the city’s first gay pride parade and festival.
- People who worked with Joly told police that he was disappointed that the Jackson Pride Parade and Festival hadn’t received more attention or protests.
A transgender activist in Michigan is accused by police of burning his own home and killing five pets, months after authorities investigated it as a hate crime.
According to a police report obtained by The Detroit News, police believe Nikki Joly, 54, may have burned down his house his Jackson, Michigan, because there were no gay rights controversies to campaign against.
Joly is a well-known LGBTQ activist, and in the months prior to the fire he helped open Jackson’s first gay community center, organised the city’s first gay pride festival, and helped lead the fight for an ordinance that prohibits discrimination against gay people.
The August 2017 fire killed Joly’s two dogs and three cats and was investigated by the FBI as a hate crime.
According to the police report seen by The Detroit News, two church officials who worked with Joly at St. Johns United Church of Christ, where the Jackson Pride Center was located, told authorities that Joly was disappointed that the Jackson Pride Parade and Festival hadn’t received more attention or protests.
Police say that the church officials, Barbara Shelton and Bobby James, described Joly as “very deceptive” and as having “layers of manipulation.”
Joly married his girlfriend Chris Moore shortly before the fire destroyed his home. When they lost their home to the blaze, the Jackson community launched a fundraising effort that raised $US58,000.
According to MLive, an FBI special agent who first investigated the fire as a potential hate crime later concluded Joly was the prime suspect.
The police report said that gasoline was found in five rooms of Joly’s two-story, wooden-frame house, reported The Detroit News.
Police later learned Joly had bought $US10 worth of gas at a Marathon station the day of the fire, and found traces of gasoline on his clothing.
Joly was charged with one felony count of first-degree arson in October 2018, according to Michigan Live, and was charged with two counts of animal killing the following December. His case is still ongoing.
- Read more:
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- An Indiana tax preparer turned away a same-sex couple, citing religious beliefs: ‘I am a Christian and I believe marriage is between one man and one woman’
- People often confuse pansexuality and bisexuality – here’s how they differ
- Chris Pratt says he ‘believes that everyone is entitled to love who they want’ after Ellen Page called his church ‘infamously anti-LGBTQ’
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