April 23, 2014 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Trial set for man charged in gay murder
charged, murder, Randolph Scott Harris Jr., Jermaine Brown, gay news, Washington Blade

Friends and neighbors of Randolph Scott Harris Jr. set up a memorial for him outside the apartment building where he was murdered on July 26. (Washington Blade file photo by Lou Chibbaro Jr.)

A D.C. Superior Court judge on April 18 scheduled a trial in January for a man charged with fatally shooting gay District resident Randolph Scott Harris Jr., 31, before setting him on fire in his Euclid Street, N.W. apartment last August.

Jermaine Brown, 34, has been charged with first-degree murder while armed for allegedly shooting Harris multiple times. A police arrest affidavit says Brown allegedly set Harris on fire while Harris was still alive and sitting on a wicker chair in the living room of his apartment.

Brown was scheduled to appear in court on Friday, April 25, for a felony status hearing in which prosecutors were expected to announce his indictment by a grand jury on charges related to Harris’s murder. Brown has been held in jail since the time of his arrest on Aug. 1, 2013.

The affidavit says homicide detectives linked Brown to the murder after discovering he was in possession of items missing from Harris’s apartment, including iPhones and an iPad.

According to the affidavit, Brown told detectives shortly before his arrest that he regularly visited Harris, whom he knew was gay and who he said tried to establish a relationship with him.

“He denied ever ‘going that way’ because something is wrong with it and he sees a problem with it,” the affidavit says in referring to Harris’s sexual orientation. “He described it as being nasty.”

The affidavit says Brown has denied killing Harris but has admitted to stealing his car around the time of the murder. At the request of Assistant U.S. Attorney Holly Shick, the prosecutor in the case, Judge Robert Morin agreed last September to order Brown to provide saliva and tissue samples for a DNA test.

Shick stated in a motion filed in September that the DNA test was needed to confirm whether cigarette butts and a glove found at the crime scene could be linked to Brown.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

1 Comment
  • I think youve been doing an awesome job.i am 62 years old and lived thru a lot of stuff.im glad finally people are coming out.ive seen and heard about a lot of bad things happening to the gay community.there are clans of popular and unpopular gays and straights.sometimes it sickens me to see drag queens think they are better than anyone and im gay,

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