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Sex Orientation Eyed As Motive In 2 N.J. Killings

Crime Scene - Graphic: AP

Crime Scene – Graphic: AP

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – Authorities are investigating whether two men in New Jersey were killed because of their sexual orientation.

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert Laurino announced on Thursday the arrest of a suspect in the March. 15 slaying of a Maplewood man. Laurino also named two suspects in the deadly shooting of a 28-year-old transgender woman on Sept. 12.

Laurino told The Star-Ledger of Newark the suspects in both attacks learned of the victims’ sexual orientations.

John Staten is held on $1 million bail, charged in the fatal beating 27-year-old Arthur Downey.

Laurino would not disclose Downey’s sexual orientation. But the prosecutor said Downey met Staten in a telephone chat service that has a “gay portion.”

Police are looking for 25-year-old Marquise Foster and 23-year-old Alrashim Chambers in the slaying of Victoria Carmen White. The professional lingerie model legally changed her name to Victoria Carmen after undergoing a sex-change nine years ago.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)