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Trans sex worker killed client at Crissy Field after dispute over her gender, feds say

view of buildings at Crissy Field
Authorities found Hamza Walupupu’s body at Crissy Field on Nov. 12.

The alleged murderer of a 32-year-old man in Crissy Field on Nov. 12 has told law enforcement she shot the victim after he became upset when she revealed she is transgender, according to court documents. 

The new details in the federal case came in filings detailing Leniyah Butler’s statement to law enforcement and the intricacies of the case.

The new filing argues Butler, who was arrested at her home in late November, should remain in custody because she is a threat to the public and faces potential violence from the community. The initial information about her arrest used a different first name and gender. 

Butler, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of aiding and abetting murder, allegedly shot Hamza Walupupu in the head after she performed oral sex, then stole his car and disposed of his body with the help of her mother. 

Butler’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment. 

Investigators linked Butler, 20, to the killing after reviewing surveillance video that captured a car associated with Walupupu leaving the park around the time of the shooting.

Three days later, the car was found abandoned in Hunters Point, and video surveillance showed a person, identified as Butler, parking the vehicle, wiping it down with “a clothing item or towel” and making several trips to another car that arrived, the criminal complaint stated.

The new filings now detail what led up to the killing. 

Earlier that day, Walupupu had approached Butler at an undisclosed location in San Francisco about 20 minutes away from where his death occurred. Butler asked Walupupu if he wanted a date, and he responded that he wanted “everything.” After agreeing on a price, Butler got into Walupupu’s car so he could stop at an ATM. She told him she wanted to pull over close to where he had picked her up, but instead, they went to a place where they could be alone. 

That place was Crissy Field.  Butler said she felt like she was being taken “out of her element” so far from where they had met. 

Once at Crissy Field, Butler performed oral sex on Walupupu, but when he said he wanted more, she told him she was transgender. At that point, he demanded his money back and told her to get out of his car. 

“There’s no money back,” Butler told law enforcement. “I was never giving [the money] back to him.”

She said she felt disrespected by him and refused to get out of his vehicle because she worried she would be “stranded cold as fuck.” She then asked him to take her back to where they had met, but instead, he tried to get out of the car. At that point, Butler shot him in the head with a gun she kept on her. 

She told law enforcement there were “hella different angles and ways on how I gonna do it.” 

Butler also said she had been ready to use her gun before the pair arrived at Crissy Field. 

“He didn’t think I was strapped. He probably was [going to] try to fight me. I’m not fighting no man. … You tried to play; you got played,” she said to law enforcement.

It’s unclear if Butler ever explicitly said to law enforcement that she felt endangered. Studies show sex workers and trans people face an outsized threat of sexual and physical violence and half of all trans people have experienced sexual assault or abuse, according to the Justice Department.

However, law enforcement said Butler showed no remorse when they interviewed her, even stating she thought about spitting on the victim’s body, according to court documents. 

“There’s nothing to cry for at all. There’s nothing,” she said. 

She told law enforcement that she thought about her next move before pushing Walupupu’s body out of the car. She then called her mother for help before driving to Kiska Road in Hunters Point. 

Once there, she followed her mother’s advice and wiped down the car in an attempt to remove any fingerprints and DNA evidence. She disposed of Walupupu’s backpack and her own bloody clothing and gave the gun away because it now “had a body on it.” 

It wasn’t until Nov. 20 that law enforcement attempted to arrest Butler, who fled out of a second-story window and hid in a garage before being arrested.

Editor’s note: This story has been revised for clarity.

Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at

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