LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A Los Angeles man accused of fatally stabbing a 33-year-old trangender woman he met online and then setting her Pico-Union apartment on fire was charged today with murder, attempted robbery and arson charges that could result in the death penalty if he’s convicted.

Kevyn Ramirez, 29, of Los Angeles, is charged in the death of Victoria Ramos Gutierrez, who was killed early Wednesday morning inside a two-story, multi-unit home at 1711 S. New Hampshire Ave., between Venice and Washington boulevards. He was arrested about 8 p.m. the following day.

As CBS2/KCAL9’s Randy Paige reports, her friends said that Gutierrez came to Los Angeles from Honduras because she believed she could live here free from persecution. Maria Roman was one of her friends.

“I think that is the reason many people leave their country. Because they are being persecuted because they are trans in their country and they feel that perhaps in this country that they’ll have better treatment. Yet this is what she had to face,” said Roman.

“I hope that they prosecute this as a hate crime,” said Roman. “And of course as a community we have a lot of questions and I hope as the days go by we’ll get more answers.”

Today the LAPD asked for help in getting those answers.

“We know that there are people out there who might have encountered this suspect,” said LAPD Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala. “Who might be fearful and anxious. We ask them with open arms to please come forward.”

The case remains under investigation, and anyone with information was urged to contact detectives at (213) 382-9470. After-hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to (877) LAPD-247. Anonymous tips can be submitted through Crime Stoppers by calling (800) 222-TIPS.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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