February 24, 2016 at 1:45 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Victim in D.C. double murder filed gay domestic violence report
Penny Proud, gay news, Washington Blade

One of the men killed in a double murder in Northeast D.C. earlier this month had been involved in a previous gay domestic violence incident.

One of two men shot to death in an all-male group home on Feb. 18 called D.C. police for help in a gay-related domestic violence incident at the home at 509 58th St., N.E., last August, according to a police report and a police source familiar with the incident.

The man who sought help in the domestic violence incident, Clifton David Francis, 51, and his roommate, David Aumon Watkins Jr., 45, died in a hail of bullets from a handgun allegedly fired by a third roommate at the house, 29-year-old David Joshua Bright, a police affidavit states.

Police charged Bright with premeditated first-degree murder while armed in connection with the fatal shootings. Police have yet to disclose whether they have identified a motive for the double murder.

Two separate police incident reports filed on Aug. 31, 2015, identify Francis as the person who called for help in a domestic violence incident at the group home on that day.

“On the listed date and time, C-1 [Complainant 1] reported to MPD that S-1 [Suspect 1] made threats to harm him,” the report states. “S-1 was placed under arrest and transported to the Sixth District for processing,” it says.

A second incident report filed earlier that day was in response to another domestic related call to police by Francis in connection with the same incident. The report says four people at the house “were involved in a verbal altercation regarding living arrangements.”

It says, “No physical assaults took place. All parties were advised of the domestic violence laws in the District of Columbia.”

Neither report identifies the suspect who was arrested or the offense with which the suspect was charged. However, a police arrest affidavit filed in court identifies the suspect as 57-year-old Kenneth Sloan and says Sloan was charged with attempted threats to do bodily harm.

The affidavit says Sloan was “previously in a romantic relationship” with a witness in the domestic violence case who is believed to also have been living in the house. Sources familiar with the house, including the police source, say all of the occupants of the house at that time were men, indicating the domestic violence report filed by Francis was gay related, even though the police reports don’t specifically identify any of the parties as gay.

Court records show a judge dismissed the case against Sloan in November 2015 for “want of prosecution,” a term used in situations where prosecutors are unable to move forward with a case within a required time period.

Court records show Bright, who’s charged in the double murder, has been arrested in D.C. at least eight times on various misdemeanor and felony charges beginning in 2006. One of his prior arrests on May 26, 2014, involves a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon for allegedly stabbing a man in the abdomen in the 100 block of E Street, N.W.

A police arrest affidavit says four witnesses observed the incident, described the suspect to police, and told police the suspect fled the scene in an old model Chevrolet sedan. The affidavit says a police cruiser gave chase to the suspect’s vehicle in a description reminiscent of a Hollywood movie. It says the suspect, later identified as Bright, drove over sidewalks striking other cars, drove in the wrong direction on a one-way street, and drove through numerous red lights before finally being stopped by pursuing police cars.

In a development likely to raise concern among community activists, a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a motion approved by a judge in December 2014 calling for the case to be dismissed without prejudice. A dismissal without prejudice allows prosecutors to reinstate the case at a later date.

William Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, declined to disclose the reason for the decision to dismiss the case, saying his office has a longstanding policy of not revealing reasons for pursuing or not pursuing criminal cases.

Had Bright been convicted on the charge of assault with a dangerous weapon he would have faced a possible maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.

The home where Bright and the two men he is accused of killing lived is operated by Friendship Place, a D.C. non-profit organization that provides temporary housing and social services for homeless people in immediate need of housing. The services are provided under a program funded by the D.C. Department of Human Services, the group’s director, Jean-Michel Giraud, told the Washington Blade.

Giraud said Bright, whom police say had been living in the house, was not enrolled in Friendship Place’s housing program. He said the program arranges for clients to obtain their own separate leases from the owner of the house and they are free to invite others to stay at the house.

“They can do in their own home what you and I can do in our own home as long as the landlord has no objection,” Giraud said.

He said that under privacy rules he could not disclose whether a resident in the house raised concerns about a threat of domestic violence. Giraud said employees involved in operating the group’s housing program receive training on LGBT-related issues and that LGBT clients are always welcome in the program.

The arrest affidavit for the double slaying at the house on 58th Street, N.E., last week says a witness who was living in the house called police after he heard gunshots fired in the house and allegedly saw Bright shooting Francis multiple times in the living room.

The witness reported seeing Bright running in and out of the house and up and down a staircase leading to the bedroom where he was staying several times before the shooting began, the affidavit says.

“While shooting at decedent (Francis) at close range, W-1 [Witness 1] states, ‘Day-Day’ was yelling, ‘This will teach you!” the affidavit says. It says that the witness and others knew Bright by the nickname “Day-Day.”

The affidavit says the witness told police he then overheard decedent Watkins yelling from another room, “Day-Day, what are you doing? You’re crazy!” The yelling was immediately followed by several more gunshots, the affidavit says the witness told police, resulting in Watkins’ death.

June Crenshaw, chair of the Rainbow Response Coalition, a D.C. group that monitors and provides services for LGBT victims of domestic violence, said the group had not been contacted by anyone associated with the house where the double murder took place.

Crenshaw said she understands the privacy of victims and their loved ones should be respected but she also feels police are obligated to inform the community about incidents of domestic violence.

“I think these types of incidents are a concern for the community and for the public,” she said. “I always believe more information helps to arm us and help us find out if there are gaps in services and resources wand where we can be more effective.”

Added Crenshaw: “So yes, I do feel as though it is incumbent upon the police and other sources to put that information out for us and to release it to us so that we know.”

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

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