May 3, 2010 at 11:55 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Woman arrested in gay principal’s murder

In what was expected to be the first of at least two arrests, Montgomery County Police on Monday arrested a D.C. woman who reportedly used the credit card of slain D.C. middle school principal Brian Betts.

Betts, who was gay, was found shot to death in a bedroom in his Silver Spring, Md., house April 15.

Montgomery County Police spokesperson Sgt. C. Thomas Jordan said 46-year-old Artura Otey Williams, of the 5300 block of Fifth Street, N.W., was charged with four counts of credit card related offenses. She was not charged with Betts’ murder.

A statement released by Montgomery County Police says Williams was charged with two counts of knowingly receiving a stolen credit card with the intent to use it, attempted theft of less than $1,000 in value, and attempted fraud. The statement says several credit cards were stolen from Betts’ house at the time of the murder.

“It was learned that Betts’ credit cards were used to make purchases,” says the statement. “Surveillance photos were obtained of Williams using one of those credit cards on April 16, at the Giant Food located at 1280 East-West Highway in Silver Spring.”

Williams was held in the D.C. jail and scheduled to appear at 10 a.m. Tuesday for an extradition hearing at D.C. Superior Court.

Jordan said that with assistance from D.C. police, Montgomery County investigators executed separate search warrants on two D.C. addresses Monday morning in connection with the Betts murder: one along the 5300 block of Fifth Street, N.W., and the other along the 4300 block of Third Street, S.E. Police arrested Williams at the time of the search at the residence on Fifth Street, N.W.

He declined to comment on media reports that police had identified at least two male suspects in the case and were planning to arrest the suspects.

At the time they discovered Betts’ clothed body in an upper floor bedroom in his house, police said there were no signs of a forced entry into the house, leading them to conclude he invited his killer or killers inside.

Jordan and other police spokespersons have said investigators, among other things, were searching Betts’ phone records and computer to determine if he met someone through a possible dating service or chat room who might be implicated in the murder.

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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