Seth Brunell is a hitchhiker who is accused of murdering Fern Feather, a transgender woman in Vermont.
In March, Feather wrote on Facebook, “It’s time to tell the world I’m a Hot Trans Woman in a currently male Hot Body Suit !! dang sure took long enough eh ?! Please share this to liberate our other beautiful ones !”
According to Vermont Public Radio, Feather’s death has upset and galvanized the community. Feather was stabbed to death.
Here’s what you need to know:
Brunell, Who Had Been in Psychiatric Care, Claimed He Rejected a Sexual Advance From Feather
According to VT Digger, Feather, 29, picked up Brunell while he was hitchhiking and they began spending time together.
Feather described Brunell as a “good guy” and “special friend” to a friend, but around 8 a.m. on April 12, 2022, the Lamoille North Supervisory Union reported that a car was “parked in their lot for some time and that there was someone in it smoking a cigarette.” Brunell told authorities he “had recently been released from the state-run Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital in Berlin and had previously received a citation from the Vermont State Police for stealing a vehicle,” VTDigger reported.
They found Brunell and Feather who claimed they were trying to walk their dogs. Several hours later, Brunell is accused of confessing to Feather’s friend that he killed her, saying that Feather “had come on to me and was going crazy,” according to police reports reported by VT Digger.
Police found Feather’s body and “a bloody 12-inch knife.”
According to VTDigger, citing a police affidavit, Brunell claimed Feather made a sexual advance and claimed, “I was just defending myself,” but authorities noted no injuries or signs of “an altercation.”
Brunell told police Feather had “attacked him” and said he rejected the advance because “I wasn’t gay,” adding, “I was just protecting myself.”
Feather Was Described as Bringing ‘Such Joy to So Many’
The Pride Center of Vermont wrote in a statement on Facebook, “We are heartbroken by the loss of one of our community members, Fern Feather. Fern brought such joy to so many who were honored to know them and we grieve the loss of their light in this world…Pride Center plans to host a space for community to come together and mourn.”
According to the Advocate, Vermont doesn’t allow “gay panic” or “trans panic” defenses to crimes. The law specifically addresses “circumstances in which the victim made a nonforcible, noncriminal romantic or sexual advance toward the defendant,” the Advocate reported.
Feather Filled Her Facebook Page With Photos of Nature
On Facebook, Feather wrote that she “worked at Salt Café” and “went to Lake Region Unified High School District 24.” Feather lived in San Marcos La Laguna, was single, and was from Montpelier, Vermont.
On Facebook, Feather mostly filled her Facebook page with pictures of nature, plants, and insects.
“I’m so sorry humanity failed your path,” a friend wrote.
Nina Shoenthal, a friend of feathers, told Vermont Public Radio that Feather once stole an exotic tortoise “to rescue it.”
“Fern was one of the most brilliant, colorful, loving, special, super special people that you would ever meet,” Shoenthal said to VPR. “The kind of person that everyone loved. Everyone wanted to be close with.”