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Police identify trans woman fatally stabbed at D.C. bus stop

Homicide branch releases video of suspect

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Deoni Jones, gay news, gay politics dc

In an effort to speed the investigation, several trans activists in DC shared this photo of Deoni Jones yesterday before police made a positive identification using fingerprints. (Screenshot via Facebook)

D.C. police late Friday identified a transgender woman found suffering from a fatal stab wound at a bus stop in Northeast Washington Thursday night as 23-year-old Deoni Jones, whose birth name was identified as JaParker Jones.

Homicide Branch Lt. Robert Adler, who is leading the investigation into Jones’ death, said police have also released a video of a man considered a suspect in the murder. He said the video can be viewed on YouTube.

“We’re hoping someone from the public will recognize the person in the video and tell us who it is,” Adler told the Blade in an interview at the Homicide Branch headquarters in Southwest D.C.

Adler said Jones’ family members told investigators that Jones also had been known by the first name Logan.

Police issued a statement early Friday afternoon saying a citizen flagged down a Metro transit police officer about 8:15 p.m. Thursday to report an assault at a bus stop on the 4900 block of East Capitol Street, N.E.

“Upon arrival, the officer located a transgender female who was unconscious and unresponsive suffering from a stab wound,” the statement says. “Units from the Sixth District and D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel responded to the scene. The victim was transported to a local hospital and was admitted in critical condition,” the statement says.

“On Friday, Feb. 3, 2012, at 2:35 a.m., the victim was pronounced dead. The decedent has not been identified at this time,” the initial statement said.

The video released by police later in the day shows a man walking across a street wearing a dark jacket and light colored pants. His face is not clearly visible in the video.

Adler said investigators have obtained a description of the suspect from “a variety of different sources.”

“The person we are looking for at this time is a black male, 30 to 40 years old, five-feet-nine to six-feet tall, medium build, medium complexion with a beard,” Adler said. “At the time of the incident the person was wearing a black jacket with a grey hooded sweatshirt underneath it and a pair of what we believe is jeans.”

Asked whether evidence exists to indicate the killing was a hate crime, Adler said “At this time we are still investigating if it is or is not a hate crime. And as the investigation proceeds we should probably get a better idea of whether that was a factor in the assault.”

The D.C. Trans Coalition issued a statement Friday saying it had learned through its own sources that a third person was at the bus stop when the stabbing took place and chased after the attacker. The statement says the attacker escaped when the witness realized that Jones was in need of immediate medical attention.

The statement says the group learned that Jones had been stabbed in the cheek and was taken by ambulance to Prince George’s County Hospital.

Earline Budd, an official with the transgender services and advocacy group Transgender Health Empowerment, said Friday morning that investigators planned to bring one or more photos of the victim to the THC office with the hope that someone there could identify the victim.

But Adler said homicide investigators identified Jones through fingerprints. He declined to say whether Jones’ finger prints had been on file in police and court records from a prior arrest.

D.C. Superior Court records show that a defendant on record as JaParker Jones had been arrested three times in D.C. between 2008 and 2011. The records show Jones had been charged in 2008 and 2011 with misdemeanor simple assault. In the 2008 case, prosecutors dropped the charge. In the 2011 case, a judge dismissed the case after determining prosecutors failed to prepare for the case at the time of trial.

In the third case, filed in 2010, court records show that Jones had been charged with second-degree theft and possession of a controlled substance, both misdemeanors. The records show Jones pleaded guilty to the second-degree theft change and the government dropped the possession of controlled substance charge as part of a plea bargain.

A judge sentenced Jones to a 150-day suspended jail term and ordered her to enroll in a drug treatment program and to undergo drug testing as well as counseling during a one-year period of probation, court records show.

Captain Edward Delgado, director of the department’s Special Liaison Unit, which oversees the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, told LGBT activists in an email Thursday night that the stabbing occurred after some type of altercation took place between Jones and the suspect.

“Apparently there was a fight with the knife involved,” Delgado said in his email. “An adult female (transgendered) was stabbed at least once to the head by a black male wearing heavy dark coat with grey striped hat.”

A separate statement released by the Metropolitan Police Department’s public information office says police offer a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone that provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons wanted for any homicide committed in D.C.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 202-272-9099. Anonymous information can be submitted to the department’s “TEXT TIP LINE” by text messaging 50411, the police statement says.

Two transgender women were murdered in the city in separate incidents in 2011. Both cases remain unsolved.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. L. A..

    February 4, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Chief Lanier just goes about business as usual, and for her it is. The District of Columbia is a dangerous city for the L.G.B.T. community under Lanier and it seems that fact is simply accepted. Vincent Grey should remove her from her position as Police Chief and install someone that sees all of the people in the District as equals.

    • none of this should happen to anyone

      February 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      its business as usual for most any crime ….. children, seniors and innocents are killed, murdered almost daily- should business be any different for the L.G.B.T?
      Hope they find who the person is – wonder if it was a jilted lover or a man trying to pick up women…

  2. brian / ward 5

    February 4, 2012 at 11:09 am

    UPDATE re. MPD and SLU public communications…

    As reported above, the MPD statement (copied immediately below) was distributed last night– apparently to all MPD district listservs.

    Whether a hate crime or not, it is important that MPD telegraph to EVERYONE– the public at large, MPD officers and, especially, perpetrators and would-be perpetrators, that MPD takes violent crimes against LGBT people very seriously. It is easy to forget that MPD’s (and USAO-DC’s) ability/ opportunity to deter future assaults and homicides begins at the start of every investigation and runs throughout the criminal justice process.

    Thanks to MPD communications and MPD-SLU for getting info about this case more widely distributed.
    #

    *****

    Contact: Officer Araz Alali 202-727-4383

    February 3, 2012

    ***UPDATED***

    Person of Interest Sought in Homicide in the 4900 Block of East Capitol Street, Northeast

    (Washington, DC)-Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch have announced the victim has been identified in the fatal stabbing which occurred in the 4900 block of East Capitol Street, Northeast and a person of interest is being sought.

    On Thursday, February 2, 2012, at approximately 8:13 pm, a Metro Transit Police Officer was flagged down for an assault at a bus stop in the 4900 block of East Capitol Street, Northeast. Upon arrival, the officer located a transgender female, who was unconscious and unresponsive suffering from a stab wound. Units from the Sixth District and DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel responded to the scene. The victim was transported to a local hospital and was admitted in critical condition.

    On Friday, February 3, 2012, at 2:35 am, the victim was pronounced dead. The victim has been identified as 23-year-old JaParker Jones of Northeast, Washington, DC, who is also known as “Deoni” and “Logan.”

    Detectives are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the subject crossing the middle of the intersection in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRonRazhiCA .The subject in the video is seen crossing the street toward the top of the screen as he approaches the bus stop. He is described as a black male with medium complexion, 30-40 years of age, with a beard. He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a black jacket with a gray hooded sweatshirt underneath.

    The Metropolitan Police Department currently offers a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone that provides information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons wanted for any homicide committed in the District of Columbia.

    Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at (202) 727-9099. Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.

  3. laurelboy2

    February 4, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Sorry. I can’t identify the culprit from the very clear images in the video. He looks like a thousand people I see everyday…

    • brian / ward 5

      February 4, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      Sure, that appears true enough, LB. But a ‘person of interest’ is not necessarily a ‘culprit’.

      A person in a video clip could be just a regular neighborhood passerby– who might provide a piece of additional information to MPD’s investigation. Someone else might recognize his particular clothing, e.g., and can provide MPD his name or residence. Consider that maybe he saw a suspected perp get into a car, and can provide some kind of vehicle description, or license plate info, etc.

      It’s tempting to assume a lot from a video– or even from press reports. And MPD may, for very good investigative reasons, be holding certain information back from public reports.

      The important thing is that people with any information at all about a crime or the people involved– no matter how unimportant it may seem– call MPD or MPD’s anonymous tip line noted in Lou’s reporting and MPD’s crime update.

  4. Rebecca Juro

    February 5, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Like I’d expect many trans people do, I’d like to know why the staff of the Washington Blade felt it necessary to ignore AP Stylebook standards and include Deoni Jones’ given name in this story. Doing so added nothing to the story and serves only to denigrate her chosen gender and identity.

    Frankly, I’ve come to expect far more respectful reporting from the Blade and it’s disappointing to me to see that quality standard not being reflected here.

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Missing gay man found ‘alive and well’

Police say Richard ‘Rick’ Woods found in good health

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Richard G. ‘Rick’ Woods, a 65-year-old gay man, was found alive and well.

D.C. police announced on Friday that Richard G. ‘Rick’ Woods, a 65-year-old gay man who police said was reported missing and last seen on July 14, has been located. But the announcement doesn’t provide information on where he was found or why he went missing.

Friends who know Woods say he operated for many years an antique wood furniture restoration business in various locations in D.C. The most recent location of his business, friends said, was in Georgetown a short distance from where police said he was last seen on the 1600 block of Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.

“MPD does not publicly disclose the circumstances surrounding a missing person and how they are found, however we do release their flyer as well as a notification when they are located,” said D.C. police spokesperson Brianna Burch. “Mr. Woods was found in good health,” Burch told the Blade.

Police sought help from the public in their initial announcement that Woods was missing. The announcement said he was reported missing to police on Friday, July 23.

Logan Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and LGBTQ rights advocate John Fanning, who said he has been friends with Woods for many years, said he was delighted to hear Woods was found in good condition.

“Rick is known by many in our community,” Fanning told the Blade at the time Woods was reported missing. Fanning said he and others who know Woods stand ready to provide support for him should he be in need of such support.

The Blade couldn’t immediately reach Woods for comment.

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Some D.C. gay bars to require proof of COVID vaccination

Action prompted by mayor’s order reinstating masks indoors

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Adams Morgan’s A League of Her Own is among the area queer bars requiring proof of vaccination for entry.

At least four D.C. gay bars announced this week on social media that they will require patrons to show proof that they have been vaccinated for COVID-19 as a condition for being admitted to the bars.

They include the Logan Circle area gay bars Number Nine and Trade, which are operated by the same co-owners, and the Adams Morgan gay sports bars Pitchers and A League of Her Own, which are also operated by the same owner and share the same building.

The four bars, which also offer dining service, announced their proof of vaccination requirement shortly after D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday issued a new order reinstating the city’s requirement that facial masks be worn inside all businesses and other public establishments.

The mayor’s order applies to all vaccinated and unvaccinated people over the age of two. It was scheduled to take effect 5 a.m. Saturday, July 31.

At a July 29 news conference, Bowser pointed to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance issued two days earlier recommending that fully vaccinated people resume wearing masks indoors in places where transmission of the coronavirus is considered “substantial” or “high.”

The mayor said that, at the advice of her public health experts, she decided to issue the new order to help curtail the rising number of COVID cases in D.C. over the past month or more due to the rapid spread of the virus’s delta variant, which is surging throughout the nation. Like other parts of the country, Bowser and D.C. Department of Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbit said people who are unvaccinated in D.C. make up nearly all of the newly infected cases.

“I know D.C. residents have been very closely following the public health guidelines, and they will embrace this,” Bowser said in referring to the new mask requirement.

The four-page order released by the mayor’s office, similar to the city’s earlier mask requirements, allows indoor patrons of restaurants and bars to remove their masks while “actively” eating or drinking.

But some representatives of restaurants and bars have pointed out that other jurisdictions, including Maryland and Virginia, have followed the CDC’s initial policy of making mask wearing a recommendation rather than a requirement.

“Mayor Bowser’s announcement that nightlife hospitality patrons must wear a mask indoors when not ‘actively eating or drinking’ renders the reinstated mandate essentially unenforceable and results in the rule being reduced to a largely theatrical requirement,” said Mark Lee, director of the D.C. Nightlife Council, a local trade association representing bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and other nightlife related businesses.

“The greatest disappointment for many venue operators and staff, however, is that the mayor’s decision does not allow an option for establishments to admit only fully vaccinated patrons and be exempt from the mandate, as a number of other jurisdictions across the country have done,” Lee said.

John Guggenmos, co-owner of the bars Trade and Number Nine, told the Washington Blade he and his co-owners adopted the proof of vaccination policy as an added means of protecting the safety of both patrons and employees of the two bars.

“We’re hopeful that this will be in effect for just a few weeks or a month or two,” Guggenmos said. “Our patrons have always been very supportive,” he said in referring to the city’s public health directives last year and early this year in which masks were required up until May of this year.

Guggenmos said Trade and Number Nine will allow an alternative to the vaccination requirement if patrons provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test conducted within the previous three days of their admission to the bars.

In its social media postings, Pitchers and A League of Her Own said their proof of vaccination requirement was based on the concern for the health of their patrons and staff.

“We will require proof a COVID vaccination until further notice at Pitchers/ALOHO and masks per the mayor,” a Facebook posting says. “We take guidelines and the health of our patrons and staff very seriously. We will accept a picture or hard copy of your COVID vaccination card,” it says. “No exceptions, no arguing, no talking to the manager.”

Tammy Truong, owner of the gay bar Uproar Lounge at 639 Florida Ave., N.W., told the Blade the bar has no immediate plans to require proof of vaccination as a requirement for admission, but Uproar will fully comply with the mayor’s order requiring indoor masks.

Justin Parker, co-owner of the nearby gay bar The Dirty Goose at 913 U St., N.W., told the Blade he and his staff decided on Friday to also put in place a requirment that patrons show either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the past five days. He said a 5-day window for the COVID test, which the CDC allows in some cases, was chosen rather than three a requirement to accomodate people who may not be able to get tested during weekends.

Owners of other D.C. gay bars couldn’t immeidately be reached. But the Blade could not find any announcements by the other gay bars as of Friday afternoon that they planed to put in place a proof of vaccination requiremenet. 

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Judge dismisses lawsuit against Va. school guidelines for transgender students

Christian Action Network and other conservative groups filed suit

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Connor Climo, gay news, Washington Blade

Lynchburg Circuit Court Judge J. Frederick Watson on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Virginia Department of Education’s model policies for transgender students that are to be implemented for the 2021-2022 school year.

The VDOE introduced the policies in March to better protect and affirm trans and non-binary students in schools, considering they are more likely to face discrimination and harassment from their peers and students. The directives would require Virginia schools to allow them to use school bathrooms and locker rooms that conform to their gender identity and pronouns and a name that reflects their gender identity.

Several conservative organizations, including the Christian Action Network, and families whose children attend Lynchburg public schools had sought to overturn the VDOE’s policies. The groups cited their need to protect their right to free speech and religion under the First Amendment.

Challenging the enactment of non-binary and trans-inclusive school policies in Virginia is not a new occurence. 

Tanner Cross, a Loudoun County teacher, was suspended in May after stating he would not use trans students’ preferred pronouns. Circuit Judge James E. Plowman, Jr., who invoked Pickering v. Board of Education,  a 1968 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of a teacher that stated they have the right to provide commentary on issues of public importance without being dismissed from their position, reinstated Cross after he filed a lawsuit,  

Equality Virginia on Tuesday a statement celebrated what they described as “a win for Virginia schools and students.”

“This ruling is important progress and emphasizes the continued need to protect transgender and non-binary youth in Virginia,” said Executive Director Vee Lamneck. “These policies will create safer classrooms and will reduce bullying, discrimination and harassment. It’s imperative school boards adopt these policies as soon as possible because the lives of transgender students are at risk.”

Equality Virginia, ACLU of Virginia, and more than 50 other organizations and school board leaders across the state filed an amicus brief earlier this month encouraging the court to deny the lawsuit.

The brief’s arguments included references to historic lawsuits like Brown v. Board of Education and Grimm v. Gloucester City School Board that specifically addressed inequalities in schools for minority students.

While Tuesday’s ruling is a win for LGBTQ rights advocates in education and their respective students, there still remains a final barrier to ensure that the VDOE’s policies are sanctioned in the fall. 

“The dismissal clears one statewide hurdle for the guidelines and limits future challenges,” reports the Virginian-Pilot newspaper. “But it leaves the fight to continue at local school boards, which are currently debating how or if to implement policies before the start of the school year.”

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