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D.C. man sentenced to 50 years for gay murder

Victim met killer though gay chat line

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A D.C. Superior Court judge on June 30 sentenced 21-year-old Antwan Holcomb to 50 years in prison for the December 2009 shooting death of gay D.C. resident Anthony Perkins.

Police and prosecutors said Holcomb, a District resident, met Perkins through a gay telephone chat line on Dec. 27, 2009, with the intent of luring him to a secluded street in Southeast D.C. for the purposing of robbing him.

During his trial earlier this year, prosecutors said Holcomb shot Perkins in the head at point blank range inside Perkins’ car that same day and made off only with a single pack of Newport cigarettes.

“Antwan Holcomb shot a man in the head for a pack of cigarettes,” said Ronald C. Machen Jr., the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, in the statement released Thursday.

“It is difficult to imagine a more senseless murder, but it is not surprising from a criminal who two weeks earlier shot another man in the back, paralyzing him from the waist down,” Machen said.

Machen was referring to a separate incident in which Holcomb pleaded guilty to charges of assault with intent to kill and assault with a dangerous weapon. In a combined sentencing hearing June 30, Judge Lee Satterfield sentenced Holcomb to an additional period of incarceration for those offenses, resulting in a combined sentence of 88 years in prison.

“Today’s 88-year sentence is just punishment for a killer who showed such shocking disregard for human life,” Machen said.

In his trial for the Perkins murder, a Superior Court jury found Holcomb guilty of first-degree murder while armed, armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and carrying a pistol without a license outside the home.

In addition to the 50-year prison term for the murder conviction, Satterfield sentenced Holcomb to 15 years for the armed robbery count linked to the Perkins murder. But he ordered that the 15 years be served concurrently with the murder sentence, resulting in a total of 50 years to be served for the murder and robbery of Perkins.

The verdict followed a five-day trial in which 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 cigarettes before fleeing the scene on foot.

In a video recording of an interview of Holcomb by D.C. police homicide detectives, which was shown to the jury during the trial, Holcomb said he called the gay chat line because he knew men who used the service had money and would not likely report being robbed by someone they met through the venue.

But he denied denied killing Perkins, saying someone else entered Perkins’ car and committed the murder. Prosecutors disputed that claim and pointed to evidence showing that Holcomb was the one who shot Perkins.

“I’m not of that nature…I’m a cold-blooded man,” he told the detectives, in explaining why he used the gay chat line. “I don’t like fags. I never will.”

The D.C. group Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence said it planned to submit a pre-sentencing statement to Judge Satterfield calling for a lengthy prison term for Holcomb.

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Virginia

Anti-transgender heckler interrupts Danica Roem during debate

Trans lawmaker is running for the Va. state Senate

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Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) speaks at the LGBTQ Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch in D.C. on April 23, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

An anti-transgender heckler interrupted Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) on Sept. 28 during a debate with her Republican opponent for the state Senate.

The woman heckled Roem during the Prince William Committee of 100-organized debate between her and Bill Woolf that took place at Metz Middle School in Manassas. 

“Thank you for reminding me why I won three elections in this district in Prince William County, which is the most diverse county in all of Virginia and the 10th most nationally where we welcome everyone because of who they are, not despite it, no matter what you look like, where you come from how you worship, if you do, or who you love because you should be able to thrive here because of who you are, never despite it,” said Roem.

Audience members applauded Roem after she responded to the heckler who was eventually removed from the auditorium.

Roem in 2017 defeated then-state Del. Bob Marshall, a vocal LGBTQ rights opponent who co-wrote Virginia’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman that voters approved 11 years earlier. Roem subsequently became the first openly transgender person seated in a state legislature in the U.S.

Roem in 2019 became the first out trans state legislator to win re-election. Roem in May 2022 announced she is running to represent the newly redistricted Senate District 30, which includes western Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

Woolf during the Sept. 28 debate did not say whether he would support the repeal of the marriage amendment. Woolf also reiterated his support of a bill that would require school personnel to out trans students to their parents.

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Virginia

Virginia Beach high school students stage walkouts to support transgender rights

City’s school board approved policy to out trans students to parents

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Transgender flags (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.)

Students at five Virginia Beach high schools on Friday staged walkouts in support of transgender rights.

The walkout is in response to the Virginia Beach School Board potentially approving policy 5-31, which the Pride Liberation Project says will require schools to out trans students to their parents.

Students have been organizing walkouts across the state since Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin earlier this year announced new guidelines for trans and nonbinary students.

“Students like me aren’t going to be able to talk to our teachers if we’re constantly worried about our school officials calling home to forcibly out us,” AJ, a trans Kellam High School Student, told the Pride Liberation Project.

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District of Columbia

Pepco, Exelon announce $2.7 million in funding for four minority-owned businesses

‘It’s good business sense to bring more people to the table’

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Pepco and Exelon held a press conference Friday to announce four recipients of $2.7 million in investments. (Photo courtesy Exelon)

Pepco and Exelon announced a $2.7 million investment in four minority-owned businesses on Friday.

“Today’s been a long time coming,” said Pepco Vice President of Governmental and External Affairs Valencia McClure.

Pepco’s parent company, Exelon, launched the Racial Equity Capital Fund (RECF) in 2022 to expand capital access to diverse businesses. This latest $2.7 million investment is just a portion of RECF’s $36 million in funding.

At the announcement, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser spoke about the other ways Pepco and Exelon have “put their money where their mouth is” through their partnership with the D.C. Infrastructure Academy. She reported that all 22 of the residents that graduated from the program last week have a job offer from Pepco.

“We know that is not just a job, but a career,” she said to the crowd’s applause. “We know that working together, we can invest in D.C. residents, provide opportunity, and ensure that our D.C. businesses are a part of D.C.’s growing prosperity.”

The four minority businesses that received funding were Gemini Energy Solutions, Public Sector Solutions Group, CJR Development Partners, and Escalate.

“It’s good business sense to bring more people to the table,” said fund recipient Nicole Cober, CJR Development’s Principle Managing Partner.

Gemini Energy Solutions, which is Black owned, received $1 million, the most of the four companies. Its mission is to equitably scale energy efficiency to marginalized communities. For the founder and CEO Anthony Kinslow II, this investment means that he is able to get paid and advance the work of his organization.

“We are now able to accelerate the work in our software and technology development,” he said. “What we were going to do in two years, we are now going to do in six months.”

For Escalate, a workforce development platform focused on frontline worker retention, the funding means that it will be able to double the pay for frontline workers.

Public Sector Solutions Group CEO Darryl Wiggins emphasized that this investment was not just ‘charity’ work, but mission-driven work.

“The principle and the intent is greater than the money we receive,” he said. Public Sector Solutions is Black owned.

Public Sector Solutions Group received a $600,000 debt investment; CJR Development, a minority and woman-owned small business, received a $600,000 debt investment; and Escalate, a majority Black and woman-owned company, received a $500,000 equity investment.

Exelon launched the RECF in partnership with RockCreek, one of the world’s largest diverse-owned global investment firms, in 2022. The RECF expands capital access to diverse businesses so they can create more jobs, grow their companies and reinvest in their neighborhoods and communities, according to a statement from Exelon.

New RECF applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Interested businesses may apply online or contact RockCreek at [email protected] for more information.

(Photo courtesy Exelon)
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