Arnold Waukazo charged with murder, may not have known victim was transgender

How much did Arnold Waukazo know about his love interest, Krissy Bates?
How much did Arnold Waukazo know about his love interest, Krissy Bates?

Arnold Waukazo was charged today with killing transgender woman Krissy Bates by stabbing her multiple times in the torso and neck.

Waukazo allegedly demonstrated to Minneapolis cops exactly how he stabbed his victim. He now faces felony second-degree murder charges that could land him in prison for as long as 40 years.

A family friend talked to City Pages about why Waukazo may have snapped, suggesting that perhaps he didn't know she was transgender. 

But people who knew Krissy well say it's unlikely that Waukazo would have been ignorant about his victim's gender.

Waukazo, a mechanic who worked for a few years stocking merchandise at Harbor Freight Tools in Minneapolis, was known to be a straight man. Although he had never married, he'd been in a relationship with one woman for close to 20 years. Together, the couple had two children. But the relationship ended, and she moved to Florida late last year.

In early January, Waukazo told a family friend he'd met someone new.

"He didn't tell me her name, but he said he had met a really cool woman, and he seemed excited--happier than I'd seen him in a long time," says Kurt Sowers, the stepfather of Waukazo's best friend.

Waukazo told Sowers he'd met this woman through Craigslist personals. She was the first woman that Waukazo had been interested in since his long-term relationship had ended.

On Jan. 4, Waukazo visited Bates at her apartment, at 1302 Linden Avenue. A neighbor dropped by, and Bates introduced Waukazo as her boyfriend. Bates poured brandy and the trio kicked back and chatted.

Two days later, Waukazo stopped at Haskell's Liquor Store, bought a bottle of E & J brandy, and headed for Bates's apartment.

After Waukazo arrived, the couple got into an argument, according to the police report. Waukazo became so angry that he put his hands around Bates's neck and strangled her, hanging on until she lost consciousness. Waukazo laid the body on the floor and watched as it began to convulse.

It was then that Waukazo decided to finish the job.

He grabbed a folding knife, popped open the four-inch blade, and stabbed Bates in the torso. Over and over--four times in the torso, and once on the left side of her neck.

As if that wasn't enough, Waukazo pummeled Bates's torso with his fists, fracturing several of her ribs.

Waukazo placed the bloody knife back on the hutch, picked up Bates's keys and her laptop, and fled town. He ended up back in his hometown of Blaine, returning to his kids and his job.

When Janice Polson, of Closplint, Kentucky, hadn't heard from her good friend Krissy Bates in several days, she started to worry. The women spoke to each other several times each day.

Polson called one of Bates's neighbors and asked her to check on her friend. The neighbor called the building caretaker, who opened Bates's door. Inside, she found the blood-soaked body.

It was January 11, and it had been five days since Bates was killed.


Neighbors told cops that Bates had been dating someone named "Arnie." Crime scene investigators discovered the knife, the partially drunk bottle of brandy, and the receipt from Haskell's where he bought it.

The investigators reviewed the surveillance video of Waukazo buying a bottle of brandy. On Jan. 19, the police drove to Blaine to pay Waukazo a visit. When they questioned him, he admitted he had strangled Bates, and that when he saw her body move, he decided to "dispatch" her, according to the police report.

The cops asked what he meant, and Waukazo explained that he had stabbed Bates multiple times. At the police station, Waukazo even re-enacted exactly how he'd stabbed his victim.

Members of Waukazo's family say they doubt Waukazo would kill someone for being transgender. One young acquaintance came out as trans to Waukazo and found him very accepting.

"I know he was very into women," Sowers says. "I think this all happened with no forethought or no planning. I think he was shocked and mortified, probably."

Sowers said that Waukazo was diabetic and didn't typically drink. In the past year, he'd lost 60 to 70 pounds. But with the holidays, Sowers says, perhaps alcohol was involved.

"I truly do not believe that he knew she was a transvestite."

But the clerks at CVS knew that Krissy was transgender just by looking at her. A close friend of Krissy's, Scottie Thornton, says Waukazo knew exactly who Krissy was. The couple had spent plenty of time together, and their relationship had been intimate.


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