Once Investigated As Hate Crime - Trans Activist Now Accused Of Arson Of Own Home

Eric Scheiner | February 26, 2019
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LGBTQ activist Nikki Joly has been charged with arson and animal killing after a 2017 fire at the activist's home killed 5 pets. The FBI initially investigated the fire as a hate crime, but the investigation quickly changed direction.

Joly was recognized in Jackson, Michigan for assisting in opening the first gay community center and in organizing the first gay festival in the area. Currently, Joly is facing criminal charges related to the fire that damaged a home and killed his pets.

The Detroit News reported on Monday, that authorities suggest the transgender activist may have been frustrated that controversy over gay rights has died down - as a possible motive for the blaze.





According to the Detroit News:

Why Joly, 54, would allegedly burn down his home remains a mystery. He didn’t own the house, which was insured by its owner, police said.

His attorney said the lack of a motive cast doubt on the case.

Meanwhile, a police investigative report suggests a possible reason for the fire.

Two people who worked with Joly at St. Johns United Church of Christ, where the Jackson Pride Center was located, said he had been frustrated the controversy over gay rights had died down with the passage of the nondiscrimination law, according to the report.

The church officials, Barbara Shelton and Bobby James, when asked by police about a possible motive for the fire, said Joly was disappointed the Jackson Pride Parade and Festival, held five days before the blaze, hadn’t received more attention or protests.


Motions in the case are expected to be filed in early March.