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Police: Murder defendant lured victim by posing as gay

Grand jury could deem murder a hate crime

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A gay D.C. resident was shot to death in his car by a 20-year-old District man he met on a telephone chat line and who posed as gay for the purpose of luring him to a location where he could rob him, according to a police affidavit.

The affidavit, which was discussed during a D.C. Superior Court hearing Wednesday, says Antwan Holcomb allegedly entered Anthony Perkins’ Lincoln Town Car after Perkins, 29, drove to a location the two arranged to meet through a conversation on the chat line.

Holcomb allegedly shot Perkins in the head Dec. 27 after he resisted Holcomb’s robbery attempt, says the affidavit.

Holcomb was overheard saying he “shot the ‘faggy’ in the head and robbed him of a pack of Newport cigarettes” before leaving the car and fleeing the scene on foot, the affidavit says. It says the pack of cigarettes appears to be the only item taken.

D.C. police charged Holcomb on March 12 with first-degree murder while armed in connection with Perkins’ death while he was being held at the D.C. jail on an unrelated charge of assault with intent to kill.

Court records show that the separate assault charge stems from a Dec. 12 incident in which Holcomb allegedly shot two people outside the Player’s Lounge, a popular Southeast nightclub and restaurant on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, S.E., that has hosted events organized by gay activists.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Lee Satterfield found probable cause that Holcomb murdered Perkins and approved a motion by prosecutors that he be held without bond while awaiting trial. Holcomb has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Liebman, the lead prosecutor in the case, told DC Agenda after the hearing that the case would soon go before a grand jury. He said additional charges, including the possible classification of the murder as an anti-gay hate crime, could emerge in a grand jury indictment.

Gay activists and groups that monitor anti-gay violence often have referred to cases like the Perkins killing as gay pickup murders, noting that they usually stem from a gay man meeting someone at a gay bar or cruising spot who who seeks to intice the gay man into inviting him to his home, where the perpetrator intends to rob or harm him. In recent years, police and activists have said gay male victims have frequently met their attackers online.

D.C. police homicide detective Ray Shields testified at Wednesday’s hearing that investigators linked Holcomb to the Perkins murder after identifying several witnesses, including two who were at or near the scene at the time of the murder. He said the two witnesses near the scene, whom prosecutors have identified only was W-1 and W-2, knew Holcomb before the murder.

He said W-1 reported hearing a loud bang that sounded like a gunshot on the 2900 block of Fourth Street, S.E., and moments later observed a man he knew as Antwan walking quickly away from the area. Shields said the witness later identified the person he saw as Antwan Holcomb from a nine-picture police photo array.

The detective pointed to the affidavit’s account of the second witness, W-2, who told police he saw a man he knew as “Twon” leave a residence at 500 Lebaum St., S.E., and enter a gold-colored Lincoln Town Car in the early morning hours of Dec. 27. According to the affidavit, W-2 said that later in the morning he saw the man run back into the residence at 500 Lebaum St., S.E.

“Once he was inside, W-2 heard Twon describing a murder Twon had just committed,” says the affidavit. “W-2 advised that Twon stated that he got into a car and drove around with the ‘faggy’ and that Twon stated that, at some point later, he pulled out his gun at which time Twon and the ‘faggy’ got into a brief struggle.

“Twon then stated that he shot the ‘faggy’ in the head and robbed him of a pack of Newport cigarettes.”

Shields testified at the hearing that W-2 also was shown a nine-picture police photo array and “positively” identified Antwan Holcomb as Twon.

According to the affidavit, Holcomb admitted to homicide detectives that he met Perkins on a phone chat line and admitted to inviting the person to meet him outside of 500 Lebaum St., S.E. But he denied getting into that person’s car when the person arrived at the scene and denied shooting and robbing the person, says the affidavit.

“Mr. Holcomb stated that sometime between the late evening hours of [Dec. 26] and the early morning hours of [Dec. 27] he called a ‘chat line,’” says the affidavit. “He stated that he posed as a homosexual in an attempt to lure a victim to his location for the purpose of robbing him. He stated that he spoke to someone on the chat line and after several conversations convinced the subject to meet him in the area of 500 Lebaum St., S.E.

“Mr. Holcomb stated that later that same night the person he talked to on the chat line drove up to 500 Lebaum St., S.E. Mr. Holcomb stated that he did not get into the car with the person but another subject that looked like him, i.e., like Mr. Holcomb, did,” says the affidavit. “Mr. Holcomb denied shooting or robbing the person who drove up to 500 Lebaum St.”

The affidavit says police ballistic tests showed that the bullet recovered from Perkins’ head and a bullet recovered from one of the victims Holcomb allegedly shot outside the Player’s Lounge had been fired from the same gun.

A separate affidavit for the Player’s Lounge case says one of the people allegedly shot by Holcomb is paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheel chair as a result of the gunshot wound.

Holcomb’s defense attorney in the Perkins case, Ronald Horton, declined comment.

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Comings & Goings

Cummings joins White House Office of National Cyber Director

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John Cummings

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

Congratulations to John Cummings on joining the Office of the National Cyber Director at the White House as Director of Supply Chain and Technology Security. Upon getting the position, he said, “I am beyond thrilled to join the growing team at the National Cyber Director’s Office and bring my experience to our mission of mitigating the cyber threats facing our nation and ensuring every American can enjoy the full benefits of the digital ecosystem. It is truly a privilege to work with this incredibly brilliant and collegial group of cyber experts.” 

Prior to joining the White House, Cummings served as Associate General Counsel at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Before that role, he served as interim Chief Counsel for ODNI’s National Counterintelligence and Security Center and as Associate General Counsel for the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.

He has provided legal advice and counsel on matters of government-wide and interagency policy and national security in the areas of executive authority, cyber, constitutional law, civil rights and civil liberties, legislative affairs, and international cooperation. He has worked on recruiting LGBTQ, women, and minority applicants for government roles in national security and is experienced in public relations, stakeholder relationships, and international partnerships. 

Cummings began his career clerking for the Honorable Ivan L.R. Lemelle, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and also clerked for the House Committee on Homeland Security and the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security.

He attended Villanova University where he received a bachelor’s degree in English. He earned his J.D. from Loyola Law, New Orleans, and his LL.M. in National Security Law from Georgetown Law.

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Maryland

Abortion rights in post-Roe Maryland, Delaware

Practice generally legal, with some restrictions

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (Public domain photo)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 found that the decision to receive an abortion was generally protected by the Constitution of the United States. With the broadest federal protection of abortion access now rescinded, the legality of abortion will by and large be determined on the state level.

In Delaware, abortion is legal through the Medical Practice Act — but with some restrictions.

After fetal viability, or the point where a fetus can survive outside the uterus, abortion in the First State becomes illegal unless necessary for the patient’s “life or health,” or if the fetus has a condition “for which there is not a reasonable likelihood” that it will survive outside the uterus, according to Subchapter IX of the act

Additionally, under the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act, physicians cannot perform a surgical abortion on minors under the age of 16 unless the patient’s parent or guardian has received at least 24 hours notice from a medical professional. Notice is not required for nonsurgical abortions.

On the federal level, the funding of abortion is illegal through the 1977 Hyde Amendement “except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest,” according to the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive rights advocacy organization. States are only federally required to fund abortions that meet these conditions through federal-state Medicaid programs. 

While some states also fund abortions deemed medically necessary regardless of whether they endanger a patient’s life, Delaware state law does not extend beyond federal guidelines: The state only funds abortions in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.

Abortion legislation in Delaware mirrors neighboring Maryland, whose laws include similar restrictions on abortion after fetal viability and abortion for minors under the age of 16. But abortion laws in these states are generally more restrictive than other mid-Atlantic counterparts, such as New Jersey and New York.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) weighed in on the state’s abortion law on Friday.

“In 1992, Maryland voters approved a constitutional referendum legalizing and protecting access to abortion as a matter of state law – that measure remains in effect today following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson. I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of Maryland, and that is what I have always done and will continue to do as governor.”

The impact of Roe v. Wade’s fall in Delaware remains uncertain. While the abortion rate in Delaware steadily declined between 2014 and 2017, recent findings show that instances of abortion are increasing once again in the state, reflecting a rise on the national level.

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Virginia

Youngkin backs abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy

Republican governor supports exceptions for incest, rape and protecting mother’s life

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Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade said he will seek to ban abortions in his state after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

“Virginians do want fewer abortions as opposed to more abortions,” Youngkin told the Washington Post. “I am not someone who is going to jump in and try to push us apart … There is a place we can come together.”

Youngkin, a Republican, took office in January.

His party controls the Virginia House of Delegates, but Democrats maintain a 21-19 majority in the state Senate.

“Today, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dobbs, giving power back to the states to make decisions on abortion,” said Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears in a statement. “The court has recognized that the 1973 decision was an example of judicial and federal overreach. The important question of abortion has now been returned to statehouses across the country, in order for them to make their own policy decisions, which is exactly what the founding fathers envision when they wrote the 10th amendment to the Constitution.” 

“I applaud the court for recognizing this wrong and having the courage to correct it. I look forward to working with the governor and the General Assembly in the next legislative session on legislation that respects life,” she added.

Abortion is currently legal in Virginia during the first and second trimesters.

Youngkin on Friday said he supports abortion exemptions in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is at risk.

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