Crime /

Transgender Woman Who Sparked Controversy in Los Angeles' DA Office Is Charged With Murder

James ‘Hannah’ Tubbs now faces first degree murder charges after a string of criminal activities followed the transgender offender

The transgender woman at the center of a sexual assault case amid debate over Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s policies has been charged with murder and robbery in Kern County, California.

In a brief interview Tuesday, Cynthia Zimmer, the Kern County District Attorney, said that Hannah Tubbs is accused of the 2019 killing of Washington native Michael Clark in 2019. The killing took place in Lake Isabella, a community near the Kern River. 

Tubbs was also charged with robbing the victim during the same incident. The alleged crimes were outlined in a criminal complaint made public Tuesday.

Tubbs, a transgender woman, identified as a man at the time of the killing. She has formally been charged under her former name, James Tubbs.

Tubbs pleaded not guilty during a court appearance on Tuesday afternoon. Zimmer said she would remain in custody, held on a $1 million bail. She also noted prosecutors decided to proceed with a murder charge this week.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for May 23.

Zimmer declined to provide details of the alleged killing by Tubbs. No further details have been made public. The only description of the victim at this time is the identity of being an “adult male.”

Tubbs was transferred this week from a lockup in Los Angeles to one in Kern County after the robbery charge was filed on May 6.

Tubbs previously made news for a 2014 sexual assault of a young girl in a Denny’s bathroom. At the time, Tubbs identified as a male. The case drew significant criticism for local District Attorney George Gascón, who decided to charge Tubbs as a minor after taking office in 2020. The result meant a reduced sentence and would not require Tubbs to register as a sexual offender. 

In February, recordings from jailhouse calls between Tubbs and her father were released, causing a stir. Tubbs can be heard making jokes about the lack of consequences related to the sexual assault case in the calls. 

Following the release of the recording, Gascón released a statement regarding the Tubbs case. 

“Like every responsible office, we learn as we go, take feedback from the community, and make necessary adjustments based on our experiences and the complex nature of this work,” he said. 

“Specifically, we learned a lot from the Hannah Tubbs case about the need for a policy safety valve,” he continued.

Gascón further admitted that Tubbs went on after the 2014 attack to commit other offenses, which included a case with DNA evidence that ultimately linked her to the Denny’s assault.

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