A D.C. Superior Court Grand Jury has indicted two men and a woman on hate crime charges in connection with the June stabbing of a 16-year-old male outside D.C.’s Howard Theatre whom the defendants believed to be gay.
News of the indictments surfaced at an Oct. 9 arraignment in Superior Court for defendants Ali Jackson, 19, his sister Alvonica Jackson, 25, and Desmond Campbell, 33.
The indictment charges Ali Jackson and Campbell with bias-related assault with intent to kill while armed. It charges Alvonica Jackson with bias related assault with a dangerous weapon. All three defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“On or about June 26, 2012, within the District of Columbia, Ali M. Jackson and Desmond R. Campbell, while armed with a knife, assaulted [the victim] with intent to kill him because of prejudice based on the actual or perceived sexual orientation of [the victim],” the indictment says.
“On or about June 26, 2012, within the District of Columbia, Alvonica S. Jackson assaulted [the victim] with a dangerous weapon, that is, [a] knife, because of prejudice based on the actual or perceived sexual orientation of [the victim],” the indictment says.
At a July 10 preliminary hearing, a D.C. police detective testified that a witness saw Ali Jackson stab the victim in the left bicep, lower back, and left leg after shouting names at him outside the Howard Theatre at 6th and T streets, N.W.
Det. Kenneth Arrington testified at the hearing that the stabbing took place after Campbell grabbed the victim from behind and held him in a headlock and Alvonica Jackson assisted Campbell by preventing the victim from defending himself by holding his arms.
“I’m going to poke your faggy ass,” Arrington said the witness quoted Ali Jackson as saying while pointing a knife at the victim.
According to a police arrest affidavit, the three defendants each referred to the victim as a “faggy” at the time they were stopped and detained by police.
Under the city’s criminal code, someone who assists in a shooting or stabbing assault can be charged with committing such an assault even if they didn’t fire a gun or personally stab the victim.
A trial for the case set by Superior Court Judge Patricia Broderick is scheduled to begin Jan. 9, 2013.
Ali Jackson has been held without bond since the time of his arrest on the night of the incident in June. Alvonica Jackson and Campbell were released at that time while they await trial.
At the July hearing the three defendants rejected a plea bargain offer by prosecutors that would have dropped the hate crime designation to the respective assault charges against Alvonica Jackson and Campbell. The offer called for retaining the hate crime designation for the charge against Ali Jackson.
A hate crime designation to a felony charge, such as assault with a dangerous weapon, carries a longer prison term than for a similar offense without a hate related designation.
William Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case, said a conviction against Ali Jackson and Campbell for a hate related assault with intent to kill while armed could result in a sentence of up to 45 years in prison. A conviction against Alvonica Jackson for a hate related assault with a dangerous weapon could bring a prison sentence of up to 15 years.