A D.C. Superior Court judge on June 30 sentenced 21-year-old Antwan Holcomb to 50 years in prison for the December 2009 shooting death of gay D.C. resident Anthony Perkins.
Police and prosecutors said Holcomb, a District resident, met Perkins through a gay telephone chat line on Dec. 27, 2009, with the intent of luring him to a secluded street in Southeast D.C. for the purposing of robbing him.
During his trial earlier this year, prosecutors said Holcomb shot Perkins in the head at point blank range inside Perkins’ car that same day and made off only with a single pack of Newport cigarettes.
“Antwan Holcomb shot a man in the head for a pack of cigarettes,” said Ronald C. Machen Jr., the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, in the statement released Thursday.
“It is difficult to imagine a more senseless murder, but it is not surprising from a criminal who two weeks earlier shot another man in the back, paralyzing him from the waist down,” Machen said.
Machen was referring to a separate incident in which Holcomb pleaded guilty to charges of assault with intent to kill and assault with a dangerous weapon. In a combined sentencing hearing June 30, Judge Lee Satterfield sentenced Holcomb to an additional period of incarceration for those offenses, resulting in a combined sentence of 88 years in prison.
“Today’s 88-year sentence is just punishment for a killer who showed such shocking disregard for human life,” Machen said.
In his trial for the Perkins murder, a Superior Court jury found Holcomb guilty of first-degree murder while armed, armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and carrying a pistol without a license outside the home.
In addition to the 50-year prison term for the murder conviction, Satterfield sentenced Holcomb to 15 years for the armed robbery count linked to the Perkins murder. But he ordered that the 15 years be served concurrently with the murder sentence, resulting in a total of 50 years to be served for the murder and robbery of Perkins.
The verdict followed a five-day trial in which a witness who knew Holcomb testified that he overheard Holcomb say on the night of the murder that he shot the “faggy” in the head and robbed him of a pack of cigarettes before fleeing the scene on foot.
In a video recording of an interview of Holcomb by D.C. police homicide detectives, which was shown to the jury during the trial, Holcomb said he called the gay chat line because he knew men who used the service had money and would not likely report being robbed by someone they met through the venue.
But he denied denied killing Perkins, saying someone else entered Perkins’ car and committed the murder. Prosecutors disputed that claim and pointed to evidence showing that Holcomb was the one who shot Perkins.
“I’m not of that nature…I’m a cold-blooded man,” he told the detectives, in explaining why he used the gay chat line. “I don’t like fags. I never will.”
The D.C. group Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence said it planned to submit a pre-sentencing statement to Judge Satterfield calling for a lengthy prison term for Holcomb.