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D.C. man found guilty in gay murder

Defendant accused of using chat line to lure ‘faggy’ for robbery

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Murder victim Anthony Perkins. (Blade file photo)

A D.C. Superior Court jury Tuesday found a District man guilty of first-degree murder while armed in the December 2009 shooting death of gay D.C. resident Anthony Perkins, whom police say met his killer through a gay telephone chat line.

The jury returned its verdict after deliberating for a little more than five hours following a five-day trial in which prosecutors said Antwan Holcomb, 21, shot Perkins in the head in Perkins’ car after luring him to a secluded street in Southeast Washington.

A witness who knew Holcomb testified that he overheard Holcomb say on the night of the murder that he “shot the ‘faggy’ in the head and robbed him of a pack of Newport cigarettes” before leaving Perkins’ Lincoln Town Car and fleeing the scene on foot.

“The price that the defendant put on the head of Mr. Perkins was a pack of cigarettes,” Assistant United States Attorney Steven Swaney, one of two prosecutors in the case, told the jury on Tuesday.

Chief Judge Lee Satterfield, who presided over the trial, scheduled Holcomb’s sentencing for May 5.

Perkins, 29, lived with his mother, Stella Perkins, who testified at the trial that her son’s murder was a devastating loss. He worked as a dispatcher for an air conditioning and heating company and enjoyed meeting people on phone chat lines, witnesses said during the trial.

Swaney and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Liebman presented law enforcement witnesses who pointed to phone records showing that Holcomb made repeated calls to a phone chat line called D.C. Raven. The chat line has separate lines for a variety of groups and interests, including a section with “gay chat numbers.”

Government witnesses testified that Holcomb met Perkins on the chat line on the night of Dec. 26, 2009 and engaged him in several conversations. The two exchanged their own phone numbers, the prosecutors said. Authorities later tracked the calls Holcomb made to Perkins on the night of the murder from a landline in a residence at 500 Lebaum St., S.E., where he had been staying.

“He stated that he posed as a homosexual in an attempt to lure a victim to his location for the purpose of robbing him,” according to a police affidavit used for Holcomb’s arrest in March 2010.

At the trial, prosecutors showed the jury a video of Holcomb being questioned by homicide detectives. Holcomb admitted to detectives that he talked to Perkins through the chat line and persuaded him to meet him on the night of the murder. But he denied he killed Perkins. Holcomb told the detectives in the taped interrogation that it was someone else who looked like him that entered Perkins’ car and shot Perkins. Police said Holcomb refused to identify that person.

The two prosecutors argued during the trial Holcomb fabricated that claim to get off the hook in the murder.

In the video recording of the interrogation session presented to the jury, one of the detectives joked with Holcomb about his decision to call a gay-oriented chat line. At one point, Holcomb said men using the chat line have money and likely would not report being robbed from someone they met through such a venue.

“I’m not of that nature … I’m a cold-blooded man,” he told the detectives. “I don’t like fags. I never will.”

At the time of Holcomb’s arraignment following his arrest in March 2010, Liebman told the Blade the U.S. Attorney’s office might consider asking a grand jury to classify the case as a hate crime. A subsequent grand jury indictment against Holcomb did not classify the case as a hate crime.

At the time the jury rendered its verdict Tuesday, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office said Liebman and Swaney would not be immediately available to discuss the case.

Defense attorney Ronald Horton argued that there were no eye witnesses to the murder. He said one of the government’s lead witnesses, who said she saw Holcomb near the scene of the murder, was drunk at the time.

Horton said another key witness, a woman who once dated Horton, was biased against him because she caught him in bed with another woman. She should not be taken at her word for testifying that Holcomb entered her bedroom and placed a gun under the bed shortly after the murder took place, he told the jury.

He noted that Holcomb’s finger prints and DNA were not found inside Perkins’ car, supporting Holcomb’s claim that it was someone else that entered Perkins’ Lincoln Town Car and shot him point blank in the head.

Saying the jury was obligated under the law not to find Holcomb guilty unless the government proves its case beyond a reasonable doubt, told the jury, “This case is full of reasonable doubt.”

In his rebuttal arguments, co-prosecutor Swaney recited a litany of evidence he said provided proof beyond a doubt that Holcomb committed the murder.

Among other things, he pointed to Holcomb’s arrest for an unrelated incident on Dec. 12, in which he was charged with shooting two men outside the Player’s Lounge, a popular Southeast D.C. nightclub that has hosted events organized by gay activists.

Swaney pointed to police and firearm experts’ testimony that the bullet removed from Perkins’ head had been fired from the same gun that Holcomb allegedly used to shoot the two men outside the Player’s Lounge, one of whom is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the gunshot wound.

Several letters that Holcomb wrote to a female friend while in jail following his arrest asked the friend to arrange for others to tell police that they saw someone other than Holcomb enter Perkins’ car on the night of the murder, Swaney noted to the jury. He called this a clear attempt by Holcomb to get people to help him conceal his involvement in a murder.

In addition to the first-degree murder charge, the jury found Holcomb guilty of armed robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, and carrying a pistol without a license.

The D.C. group Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence has raised concern over reports of gay men being targeted by criminals on telephone and Internet chat lines.

A widely reported case came four months after Perkins’ murder, when Montgomery County police disclosed that gay D.C. middle school principal Brian Betts, who was found murdered in his Silver Spring, Md., home last April, met one or more of the four teenage males charged in the case through an Internet sex chat line.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Frankie James

    March 3, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Good luck in prison freak – I bet you will change your mind after they get hold of you.

    “I’m not of that nature … I’m a cold-blooded man,” he told the detectives. “I don’t like fags. I never will.”

    WOW… just kick the closet door off boy.

  2. Ray

    March 9, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Oooh, you gonna get yours now, Ms. Antwan… I hope you are repeatedly raped in prison for the rest of your day, you stupid sick fucker…

  3. Gabby

    June 7, 2011 at 12:26 am

    I knew him. He is sick and has no heart at all. I feel for the victims mom. He did not deserve what happened to him. If you ever wanted to knoe about the devil, you have just read about him.he is not fucking human. He feels nothing

  4. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

    March 17, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE WHO ENJOY ONLINE/TELEPHONE SOCIAL SITES DO NOT KEEP THE ENJOYMENT WITHIN THE REALM OF FANTASY. WAIT…YOU WILL EVENTUALLY MEET SOMEONE IN A GROCERY STORE, ETC. DO NOT MEET PEOPLE YOU HAVE ONLY TALKED TO BUT NEVER SEEN. IN REFERENCE TO HOLCOMB, THERE IS A SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMBALANCE BETWEEN NEGRO MALES AND FEMALES. SINCE NEGRO FEMALES ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE HOMEOWNERS AND HAVE BETTER-PAYING JOBS, MANY NEGRO MALES FEEL INCOMPETENT IN THE EYES OF FEMALES. THUS, IF A HETEROSEXUAL MALE KNOWS A HOMOSEXUAL MALE FINDS HIM ATTRACTIVE (VISUALLY AND/OR EMOTIONALLY), HE IS GOING TO USE THAT INFORMATION TO HIS ADVANTAGE. NEGRO-MALE HOMOSEXUALS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE COLLEGE EDUCATED WITH GOOD-PAYING JOBS. THEREFORE, HOLCOMB SAW PERKINS AS AN “EASY TARGET.” SINCE NO FINGERPRINTS/DNA WERE FOUND, I WILL NOT ACCUSE MR. HOLCOMB OF MURDER. IN REFERENCE TO MR. PERKINS’ FAMILY, STAY STRONG DURING THIS TROUBLED TIME.
    THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.
    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  5. Kyla Earles

    October 24, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    I don't feel sorry for the faggy

    • Kyla Earles

      December 30, 2012 at 8:30 am

      I did not write that!!!!!!!!! Someone hacked my page!!!!

  6. Tmoney Maker Grant

    December 30, 2012 at 4:29 am

    Bitch

  7. Tmoney Maker Grant

    December 30, 2012 at 4:30 am

    U just insecure. You going to hell. GOD don't like ugly.Rumbaed bitch

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Comings & Goings

Umana named associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

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Wolfgang Umana (Photo courtesy of Umana)

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 Wolfgang Umana on being named an associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). He has been with them for more than five years and is currently its D.C. studio’s office manager. 

“I am honored to become GGN’s newest Associate,” Umana said.I have the glorious privilege of supporting GGN’s continuing dedication to progress, inclusion, social justice, sustainability, and beautification of the world we live in.”

Umana also works with NBR Computer Consulting as an LLC Computer Technician consultant. He has experience in social media, communications, outreach, and technical services, and provides a dynamic approach to the fast-changing world of technology. NBR Computer Consulting, LLC is a gay-owned business. 

Umana has also served as D.C. Army National Guard Director of Environmental Affairs and with EMS Consultation Services. 

He has his bachelor’s in Environmental Science & Public Policy, Human and Ecosystem Response to Climate Change, from George Mason University. 

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Capital Pride bids for D.C. to host World Pride 2025

International event draws thousands of visitors

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Confetti rained down in New York’s Times Square at Stonewall 50 WorldPride New York’s closing ceremony two years ago. D.C. organizers hope to host the event in 2025. (Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride events, announced on Sept. 21 that it has submitted a bid to host 2025 World Pride, the international Pride event that draws thousands of participants from throughout the world to the host city.

The announcement by Capital Pride says its bid to host the event in D.C. notes that the event, among other things, would commemorate the 50th anniversary of D.C.’s first LGBTQ Pride event in 1975, which began as a block party near Dupont Circle.

World Pride is licensed and administered by the international LGBTQ organization InterPride. The World Pride events themselves, which usually take place every other year, are organized by InterPride’s member organizations such as Capital Pride Alliance.

The Capital Pride announcement notes that World Pride “promotes visibility and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) issues on a global level.” The announcement adds, “World Pride events include parades, marches, festivals and other cultural activities often enjoyed at Pride celebrations, along with other components such as a human rights conference and large-scale opening and closing ceremonies.”

The InterPride website says the deadline for submitting a bid for the 2025 World Pride has passed. It says D.C.’s Capital Pride and Kaohsiung Pride, located in the large Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung, are the only two remaining cities in competition for hosting the 2025 World Pride.

Ryan Bos, Capital Pride’s executive director, said InterPride was expected to make its decision on which of the two cities to select sometime in November of this year.

“A recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed that the annual Capital Pride Celebrations, during normal years, result in approximately $371 million in positive economic impacts to the region, a number that may be doubled if the organization is awarded the prestigious event,” the Capital Pride statement says.

The 2021 World Pride took place earlier this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2019 World Pride was held in New York City to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots, which many activists consider the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

InterPride says the 2023 World Pride will take place in Sydney, Australia.

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Va. county supervisors back resolution against ‘required’ pronoun questions

Unanimous vote in Stafford County allows school defunding

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What's Your Pronoun? review, gay news, Washington Blade
(Image courtesy of Liveright Publishing)

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that gives it the authority to deny funds to schools that require students to give their pronouns and teach the 1619 Project and critical race theory.

The resolution denounces “the teaching of the 1619 Project and critical race theory (CRT) and related principles in Stafford County Public Schools,” and states the board does not support Stafford County Public School students “being required to identify their chosen pronouns.”

The approved document had been updated to change “requested” to give pronouns to “required.”

Republican Supervisor Gary Snellings told the board he brought the resolution forward, which passed by a 6-0 vote margin, in response to communication from parents. One supervisor was not present.

Snellings called critical race theory “racism.” He also called the New York Times’ 1619 Project published on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony a “theory.”

Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia public schools, but a state law passed in 2020 requires local school boards to adopt policies that are more inclusive for transgender and non-binary students that follow, or exceed, guidelines from the state’s Department of Education.

Snellings said the problem with preferred pronouns was in requiring students to give them. He said that was not in the governing Virginia law.

“This (resolution) does not eliminate anything. It just follows state law,” Snellings said.

A Virginia court in July dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Department of Education’s guidelines for trans and non-binary students. Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia were parties to the amicus brief in support of the protections.

“We are deeply disappointed that these adults made such a hateful decision for kids in the community,” tweeted the ACLU of Virginia in response to the board’s vote.

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