WASHINGTON — A Germantown, Maryland, man has been convicted in the 2015 killing of a transgender woman whom police say he had known for years.
Rico LeBlond, 22, was convicted of first-degree murder Tuesday in the killing of Zella Ziona, 21, behind the Lakeforest Mall, in Gaithersburg, on Oct. 15, 2015. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The Montgomery County police said in charging documents at the time that LeBlond and Ziona, who was born DeAndre Smith, had been friends since their school days, and that LeBlond had become upset when people found out about their friendship.
Not long before the night Ziona was killed, she had begun “acting flamboyantly” toward LeBlond, which embarrassed him in front of his crew, according to the charging documents at the time of his arrest.