D.C. police on Tuesday charged a 22-year-old man with assault with a dangerous weapon for allegedly stabbing another man on the street outside the Bachelorâ€™s Mill, a gay bar at 1104 8th St., S.E. near the Washington Navy Yard.
A police statement says officers arrested Terrill Terry Jr. of La Plata, Md., on Tuesday, Feb. 4 after obtaining a D.C. Superior Court warrant that identified the weapon as a knife.
The statement says the incident began about 2:15 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 2, when officers responded to a call for help and discovered an adult male had been struck with a bottle at an establishment on the 1100 block of 8th St., S.E.
Although the statement doesnâ€™t identify the establishment, a source familiar with the incident said the initial altercation took place inside the Bachelorâ€™s Mill.
â€śThe suspect fled the scene and engaged in a second altercation in the 1100 block of 7th St., S.E., where he assaulted a second adult male with a sharp item,â€ť the statement says. â€śThe suspect then fled the scene. Both victims received treatment at local hospitals for their injuries.â€ť
Court records show Terry was being held without bond pending a preliminary hearing scheduled or 10:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 7.
A D.C. Superior Court judge ruled on Feb. 7 that prosecutors established probable cause that Terrill Terry Jr., 22, of La Plata, Md., committed an assault with intent to kill while armed outside the Capitol Hill gay bar Bachelorâ€™s Mill five days earlier.
D.C. police arrested Terry on Feb. 4 for allegedly slashing a Bachelorâ€™s Mill customer multiple times on the street one block from the bar following an altercation he allegedly started in the bar minutes earlier.
Judge John R. Johnson ordered Terry held without bond while he awaits trial during a Feb. 7 court hearing in which a D.C. police detective testified that jealousy may have been the motive behind Terryâ€™s action.
An arrest affidavit prepared by Det. David Gargac says the incident began inside the Bachelorâ€™s Mill at 1104 8th St., S.E., about 2:15 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 2, when Terry struck an acquaintance in the head with a beer bottle while the two men were on the dance floor.
Gargac testified that witnesses told police that Terry believed the acquaintance was making advances toward someone he described as his â€śhusbandâ€ť at a private party earlier that evening. The detective said several of the people at the party â€“ including Terry and the acquaintance â€“ went to the Bachelorâ€™s Mill after leaving the party.
The affidavit says that when Terry struck the acquaintance with the bottle a scuffle broke out on the dance floor and bar employees escorted the acquaintance and Terry out of the club. According to the affidavit, bar security personnel and police officers out front did not respond to the acquaintanceâ€™s assertion that Terry assaulted him with the bottle, and the acquaintance and a friend walked away in one direction and Terry walked in the opposite direction.
But minutes later, according to the affidavit, Terry approached the acquaintance and charged toward him, prompting the acquaintanceâ€™s friend to block Terryâ€™s path and urged him to back off. It was at that point that Terry slashed the friend at least six times with a sharp object that Det. Gargac said witnesses think may have been a box cutter, the affidavit says. The weapon has not been found.
Gargac testified that the friend suffered slash wounds to the neck, face, shoulder and wrist, among other places, and was bleeding â€śprofuselyâ€ť before an ambulance took him to Washington Hospital Centerâ€™s Med Start Unit, where he underwent emergency surgery.
He has since been released and is recovering from injuries that could have been fatal had they landed in a slightly different place, said Assistant U.S. Attorney James Petkun at the Feb. 7 court hearing.
The acquaintance spoke to the Blade on condition that he not be identified by name. He said the person Terry called his â€śhusbandâ€ť came on to him at the party and he politely declined that personâ€™s overtures.
He said Terry expressed annoyance that heÂ and Terryâ€™s friend had a brief conversation at the party, but he never thought that interaction would prompt Terry to become violent when group left the party and arrived at the Bachelorâ€™s Mill.
Webster Knight, Terryâ€™s attorney, argued during the court hearing that the government presented insufficient evidence to show probable cause that Terry committed an assault with intent to kill. Knight did not disclose what, if any, explanation his client has for how the altercation started or whether or not Terry acknowledges hitting the acquaintance and slashing the acquaintanceâ€™s friend.
The D.C. menâ€™s clothing store Universal Gear, which is gay owned, lost about $5,000 in merchandise on Saturday morning, March 23, in a snatch-and-grab robbery committed by two unidentified male suspects, according to store official Yemi Mengistu.
Mengistu said the incident at the upscale store at 1529 14th St., N.W., marked the fifth time it has been victimized by similar robberies since 2009. As it has since 2009, Universal Gearâ€™s owner, David Franco, has posted on YouTube a video of the robbery in progress taken from the storeâ€™s surveillance cameras.
D.C. police have listed the incident as a robbery and assault, Mengistu told the Blade, because one of the two suspects assaulted her as she tried to stop them from leaving whileÂ theyÂ carried large quantities of clothes form the storeâ€™s racks.
Franco has urged police to assign more foot patrol officers to the 14th Street business district where Universal Gear is located as a means of deterring what he has called an ongoing series of robberies by brazen young men, some appearing to be teenagers, who have targeted his store.
Similar to the past incidents, the latest two suspects posed as customers browsing the store before grabbing merchandise and running outÂ into a getaway car parked nearby.
The store is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any of the suspects involved in the robberies. Anyone with information about the latest or past incidents should call Universal Gear at 202-319-0136 and the D.C. police crime line at 202-727-9099.
By PATRICK McNEIL
It’s April and I’m glad the weather is tolerable. I love taking walks and I love spending time outside. It’s beautiful, but warmer temperatures unfortunately also mean more opportunities for street harassment.
It’s a blessing and a curse.
For women and LGBTQ individuals (and those perceived to be LGBTQ), street harassment is a systemic, year-long problem, but we’re reminded at this time every year, when we engage in public interaction with greater frequency, how large of a problem it is.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month and earlier this month wasÂ International Anti-Street Harassment Week, a week during which activists work to raise awareness about how serious of an issue street harassment is. The event began two years ago as one day, an initiative started byÂ Stop Street HarassmentÂ founder Holly Kearl. For the past two years, hundreds of organizations from around the globe have participated in weeklong movements.
As a gay man living in one of theÂ gayest cities in AmericaÂ (and theÂ gayest state), I’ve been particularly interested in the public harassment of this community. While my master’s thesis covered only gay and bisexual men, I am part of the community and an ally to everyone in the community. I don’t want anyone to experience street harassment.
Unfortunately, we do. Recently, the New York Times publishedÂ a pieceÂ about the unfair treatment of transgender individuals by police officers in New York. I shed a tear while reading the article, a cruel reminder that, if you’re in public and not cis gender, you’re likely to be harassed. For gay men and lesbians, too, public displays of femininity and masculinity that at least border on gender non-conforming result in verbal assaults. And sometimes it gets physical.
Earlier this month in Paris, a gay coupleÂ was brutally beatenÂ for holding hands in public. And this isn’t uncommon. Couples in the LGBTQ community are constantly required to negotiate a desire for visibility while recognizing the very real dangers of being out in public. Couples areÂ reminded all the timeÂ that their presence is unwanted in public spaces. It’s a great source of stress and something that’s always on our minds, coupled or alone. In fact, according to my own research, about 71 percent of gay and bisexual men constantly assess their surroundings when navigating public spaces.
And we’re reminded in examples like these that our struggles are unique. When a heterosexual woman is accompanied by her partner, her chances of being harassed go down. For LGBTQ individuals the opposite happens. I’ve been there. I’ve been harassed on the street and on the Metro for holding hands with a guy. It’s not news to anyone that it happens, but it does happen with alarming frequency.
The public harassment of LGBTQ individuals is also unfortunate because of how different everyone’s identity development looks. I didn’t even come out to myself until college, but I was certainly bullied growing up for being gay. I felt social pressures and I felt uncomfortable. When you’re internally reconciling a queer identity and simultaneously being harassed because of the identity you refuse to accept, life is not easy, and it canÂ stall the coming out process. One of my research participants, even though he was out to himself, delayed his coming out because he knew his small-town Iowa peers would adversely react. People shouldn’t have to hide their identities because they fear public retribution.
And really, I canâ€™t say that I experience street harassment every day, as I know many women and many other LGBTQ individuals can. I donâ€™t have to experience it to feel its effects, because I am always afraid. Iâ€™m afraid because itâ€™s possible, because itâ€™s happened before and will happen again, and because we live in a society where itâ€™s unfortunately normal and expected.
These problems won’t be fixed in a week of activism and we’re likely not to even make a dent. But we have to start somewhere. Stop Street Harassment, regionalÂ HollabackÂ organizations, and others work year-round to combat the public harassment of women and LGBTQ folks, and they need our help.
If you’re harassed, share your story. The more of us who speak out, the more attention it will get. Itâ€™s about collectively amplifying each otherâ€™s voices, about standing in solidarity and saying that this isnâ€™t OK. Itâ€™s about human rights and creating social spaces where all humans are free from this form of public harassment.
Patrick McNeil is a D.C.-based writer. Reach him at email@example.com.
D.C. police on April 25 arrested two men for allegedly assaulting and robbing a Silver Spring man about 1 a.m. that day as the man stood outside the Crew Club, a gay gym and health club at 1321 14th St., N.W.
According to a police report, the two arrested men were among three young males who allegedly began striking the victim â€świth closed fists while calling him a homophobic slur in Spanish.â€ť
The victim, Daryll â€śDarioâ€ť Flammer told NBC 4 TV News in an on-camera interview on the day of the incident that he was smoking a cigarette on the sidewalk when he was â€śbeaten, knocked out and robbed.â€ť
The police report, which lists the incident as a possible anti-gay hate crime, says Flammer told police officers responding to the scene that the attackers stole his iPad, which police estimate has a value of $800.
Flammer â€śstates that he temporarily lost consciousness and noticed the listed property missing when he regained consciousness. No other property was removed from his person,â€ť the report says. It says an ambulance was called to the scene but Flammer declined treatment.
According to the police report, among the officers responding to the scene was an affiliate member of the police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit.
D.C. police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump identified the men arrested as Gustavo Velasquez, 24, and Ciriaco Oxlaj, 26, both residents of Northwest D.C.Â Court records show the U.S. Attorneyâ€™s office charged the men with a single count of felony robbery and did not list the incident as a hate crime.
The U.S. Attorneyâ€™s office has said in the past that it prefers to put off making a decision on whether to list assaults and other crimes as hate crimes until the cases are presented before a grand jury.
D.C. Superior Court Judge Karen Howze released Velasquez and Oxalaj on their own recognizance at an April 25 presentment hearing pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 14, court records show. The records show that Howze granted the release on the condition that the two men stay away from Flammer and stay away from the section of 14th Street, N.W. between Massachusetts Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue within which the Crew Club is located.
â€śInitially, I felt a bump on my head, a hard bump, and that knocked me to the ground,â€ť Flammer told NBC 4 News, which was the first media outlet to report the incident.
â€śFor a couple of seconds I was disoriented, not conscious, and then another individual took my tie and started pulling on meâ€¦and I couldnâ€™t breathe, and he literally took the tie and ripped it off my neck,â€ť he told NBC 4 News.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and District Police Chief Cathy Lanier announced at a news conference on Thursday that the 88 homicides reported in the city in 2012 represent the lowest number of slayings within the city in 50 years.
Lanier noted that while robberies and sexual assaults increased in 2012, violent crimes made up just 19.6 percent of the total number of crimes, with â€śproperty crimeâ€ť making up 84.4 percent of the total number of reported crimes in 2012.
Lanier didnâ€™t include statistics on hate crimes in a crime data presentation she gave at the news conference. But preliminary data on hate crimes posted on the D.C. police website this week show hate crimes targeting victims based on their sexual orientation increased 19 percent, from 37 between January and November of 2011 to 44 between January and November of 2012.
The data show the number of hate crimes against transgender residents increased from 8 to 9 in the same 11-month period from 2011 to 2012, representing a 13 percent hike.
Police officials said hate crime data for December 2012 was being tabulated and would be released at a later date.
The total number of reported hate crimes in 2011 (from January through December) was 42 for the â€śsexual orientationâ€ť category and 11 for the category of â€śgender identity/expression,â€ť according to the data shown on the police website.
The preliminary, 11-month figures for 2012 show that the city recorded a total of 78 hate crimes for each of the categories of victims â€“ sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, ethnicity/national origin, race, religion, disability, political affiliation, and homelessness.
Of that total of 78, hate crimes targeting a victim because of his or her sexual orientation (44) comprised 56.4 percent of the total, the highest of all the categories. Race related hate crimes (12) came in second, at 15.3 percent, with gender identity and expression (9) coming in third, making up 11.6 percent of all reported hate crimes in D.C.
Hate crimes based on a victimâ€™s religion (6) made up 7.7 percent of the 11-month total in 2012. Just one hate crime was reported so far in 2012 for each of the categories of disability and political affiliation. None was reported for the homelessness category in the 11-month period of 2012.
In his remarks at Thursdayâ€™s news conference, Gray said he was hopeful that his Project Empowerment program that provides job training for unemployed transgender people would lower the number of anti-trans hate crimes.
Transgender activists have said some of those participating in the job training program were forced to engage in street prostitution to survive prior to entering the program.
â€śIf we can take some of the sense of need from people who feel like the only way they can survive is by engaging in street activity, the sale of sex, if you will â€“ I think thatâ€™s going to reduce some of the hate crimes also because itâ€™s not going to make people as vulnerable as they might have been,â€ť Gray said.
â€śWeâ€™ve got a program started nowâ€¦to try to improve the understanding of people who are transgender,â€ť he said. â€śSo I think in addition to working at it from a law enforcement perspective, we also need to work on it from the perspective of how we improve the conditions under which people who are transgender, for example, are living.â€ť
Although the hate crime data for December 2012 have yet to be released, preliminary reports on the activities of the departmentâ€™s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit show at least three possible anti-LGBT hate crimes took place in December.
Officials with the local group Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) have said they believe the actual number of anti-LGBT hate crimes is significantly greater than the number reported because some LGBT victims choose not to report hate crimes.
Activists say some hate crime victims report the crime as an assault without informing police they were targeted for their sexual orientation or gender identity. In other cases, according to GLOV, a police officer many not recognize an assault or other crime as a hate crime and doesnâ€™t record it as such on a police report.
Just one LGBT related murder took place in 2012 — the February 2012 stabbing death of transgender woman Deoni Jones, 23, at a bus stop in Northeast D.C. Police arrested District resident Gary Niles Montgomery, 55, for the crime less than two weeks later. Montgomery has since been indicted on first-degree murder while armed and is being held in jail while he awaits trial.
Police have listed the motive of the slaying as robbery rather than a hate crime.
Blade: Chief, can you say a little about hate crimes and where they fit into the overall crime statistics you presented today? Are they going up or down?
Chief Lanier: I donâ€™t have any hate crime statistics with me. Iâ€™ll get them for you. We were staying pretty much even across the board for hate crimes. We did have some increases in different categories. But I have to get back to you with the specific categories. Iâ€™ll get it for you.
Mayor Gray: I think, Lou, if I could add a facet to that. I think you know that we worked hard to try to create a greater acceptance of people who are transgender, who often times are the victims of hate crimes in the District of Columbia. And if we can take some of the sense of need from people who feel like the only way they can survive is by engaging in street activity, the sale of sex, if you will — I think thatâ€™s going to reduce some of the hate crimes also because itâ€™s not going to make people as vulnerable as they might have been.
We had a very successful year with our transgender efforts in the last 12 to 15 months. We had three cohorts to go through the Department of Employment Serviceâ€™s Project Empowerment. We were able to get people jobs. We got a campaign started now, as I think you know, to try to improve the understanding of people who are transgender. So I think in addition to working at it from a law enforcement perspective, we also need to work on it from the perspective of how we improve the conditions under which people who are transgender, for example, are living.
“While we congratulate MPD and the city of Washington in reaching the lowest level of overall homicides in 50 years, the anti-LGBT violence numbers are still going up at an alarming rate and need to be addressed,” said A.J. Singletary, chair of GLOV.
“Even though the low homicide rate was the big story of the day, Chief Lanier rightly included data on other categories of crime” in her presentation at the news conference, Singletary said. “Hate crimes should have been included for comparison purposes as well. While the LGBT community is acutely aware of the violence we face on a daily basis in Washington, other citizens of D.C. as well as the mainstream media often aren’t aware of this large and seemingly ever-growing problem,” he said.
An off-duty D.C. police officer accused in August 2011 of firing his service revolver into a car occupied by three transgender women and two male friends was sentenced on Thursday to three years of supervised probation, a $150 fine, and 100 hours of community service.
D.C. Superior Court Judge Russell Canan also sentenced Officer Kenneth Furr, 48, to five years in prison but suspended all but 14 months of the prison term and credited Furr with the 14 months he already served between the time of his arrest and his trial last October.
Canan released Furr October 26 while awaiting sentencing after a Superior Court jury convicted him of assault with a deadly weapon and solicitation for prostitution but acquitted him on six other charges, including the most serious charge of assault with intent to kill while armed.
The latter charge was linked to his firing of five shots into the car where the transgender women and their friends were sitting.
Police and prosecutors have said the shooting occurred following a confrontation that started when Furr solicited one of the transgender women for sex for money at 5th and K Streets, N.W., and followed the woman after she rejected his offer. Furr then argued with one or more of her friends who asked Furr leave her alone.
At the time of his arrest, police said Furrâ€™s blood alcohol level was twice that of the legal limit for drivers.
Canan rejected a request by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Worm, the lead prosecutor, that Furr be given the maximum sentence of 5 years in prison for the assault with a deadly weapon charge. He also denied her request for an additional three months incarceration for the solicitation conviction.
News of the shooting outraged LGBT activists as well as Mayor Vincent Gray and members of the D.C. City Council, who called for stepped up efforts to curtail violence against the cityâ€™s transgender community.
The D.C. Trans Coalition issued a statement late Thursday calling the sentence of no additional jail time for Furr â€śoutrageousâ€ť and said it would heighten longstanding fears by the transgender community of mistreatment and abuse by police officers.
â€śThis result is the product of a legal system that constantly devalues trans lives, particularly trans people of color,â€ť said D.C. Trans Coalition member Jason Terry. â€śOfficer Furrâ€™s defense team actively sought to portray the victims as somehow deserving of this violence, and apparently they succeeded,â€ť he said.
â€śIf roles had been reversed and a black trans woman had gotten drunk and shot a gun at a police officer, the results would be drastically different,â€ť Terry said.
Court observers said the juryâ€™s decision to find Furr not guilty on the assault with intent to kill while armed charge most likely resulted from a successful effort by Furrâ€™s attorneys to portray the shooting as an act of self-defense.
Canan said his suspension of 46 months of the 60 month (five year) prison term was contingent upon Furrâ€™s successful completion of his three year probation period and other restrictions, including a requirement that he stay away from the five complainants.
Court records show Canan also ordered Furr to stay away from â€śthe area bounded by: New York Avenue, Massachusetts Avenue, 7th Street, N.W. and North Capitol Street, N.W.,â€ť which is widely known as one of the cityâ€™s transgender prostitution zones.
In addition, Canan set as a condition for the parole that Furr enter an alcohol treatment program and enroll in anger management classes.
In the sentencing memorandum on behalf of the U.S. Attorneyâ€™s office, Worm said one reason why Furr was not a good candidate for a sentence involving parole and no prison time was that he failed to immediately comply with his pre-sentencing release conditions. She noted that although he was instructed to report immediately after his release on Oct. 26 for regular alcohol testing and other conditions, he did not report for the testing until a full month after his release.
The charge of assault with a deadly weapon, on which he was convicted, stemmed from allegations by prosecutors that Furr pointed his gun at one of the transgender womenâ€™s friends outside a CVS store on the 400 block of Massachusetts Ave., N.W. at about 5 a.m. on Aug 26, 2011.
According to testimony by the victims, Furr solicited one of the trans women propositioning sex for money minutes earlier on the street at 5th and K Streets, N.W. The woman rebuffed his request and walked away, but Furr followed her to the CVS store, where one of her male friends called on Furr to leave her alone, witnesses reported.
Furr then started an argument that continued outside the store, where Furr pulled out his gun and pointed it at the womenâ€™s friend.
Although Furr did not fire the gun, prosecutors argued his action constituted an assault with a deadly weapon and persuaded the jury to convict him on that count.
During the trial the defense presented evidence, which prosecutors acknowledged was factually correct, that the trans women and their male friends responded by following Furr in their car after Furr drove away from the CVS store.
Trial testimony showed that the group followed Furr to the area of 3rd and K Street, N.W., where they observed Furr attempting to solicit another transgender woman for sex. At that point, two of the people in the car got out and confronted Furr and one or both of them assaulted Furr, witnesses testified during the trial.
Furr then returned to his car and drove away, with the trans women and their male friends following him again, witnesses testified. This prompted Furr to stop his car at First and Pierce Streets, N.W., and fire his gun at the other car, which Furrâ€™s lawyer said was in pursuit of his, according to testimony at the trial.
One of the male friends driving the vehicle ducked to avoid being shot and unintentionally rammed the car into Furrâ€™s car, witnesses testified.
Furr responded by climbing on the hood of the car occupied by the transgender women and their friends and fired five times through the front windshield, causing three of the occupants to suffer non-fatal gunshot wounds.
Within minutes D.C. police rushed to the scene and arrested Furr, who was found to have a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit under D.C. law.
David Knight, Furrâ€™s lead defense attorney, appeared to have persuaded the jury that the people he shot at were the aggressors and Furr acted in self-defense, court observers said.
â€śHe was alone, outnumbered and under attack,â€ť the Washington Post quoted Knight saying to the jury. â€śHe was threatened, assaulted and pursued by a car full of people who wanted to harm him.â€ť
In her sentencing memorandum, Worm said that at no point did Furr identify himself as a police officer to the complainants nor did he call for police help if he believed he was in danger.
â€śTo be sure, some of the complainants involved in this incident engaged in risky behavior and bad judgment,â€ť she said in the memo.
â€śThe government does not minimize the fact that both parties had opportunities to withdraw from this conflict, but the governmentâ€™s view, as exhibited in its charging decisions, is that the defendant bore criminal responsibility for provoking and escalating the conflict, and introducing a deadly weapon into a situation that could have otherwise been resolved,â€ť Worm wrote in the memo.
â€śMany of the witnesses who testified at trial were associated, in some way, with Washington, D.C.â€™s transgender community,â€ť Worm said in the memo. â€śThat community has historically suffered discrimination from a variety of sources. Moreover, the members of the transgender community bear a heightened risk that they will be victims of violent crime,â€ť she wrote.
â€śThis defendant was a police officer charged with protecting and serving the citizens of the District of Columbia,â€ť she said. â€śDefendant Furrâ€™s actions on the night of this offense increased the transgender communityâ€™s already significant safety concerns and their distrust of the Metropolitan Police Department.â€ť
D.C. police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump said Furr has been suspended without pay and that the department will follow its standard procedure for dealing with an officer convicted of a felony. Police observers have said a felony conviction, especially one associated with violence, usually results in the firing of a police officer.
The stepfather and sister of a transgender woman stabbed to death at a Northeast D.C. bus stop last February are inviting members of the LGBT community to participate in a memorial remembrance for Deoni Jones on Saturday, Feb. 2, to commemorate the anniversary of her death.
Jonesâ€™ family members, who refer to her by her birth name JaParker, told more than 200 people who turned out for a vigil at the site of the murder days after the incident took place that they fully accepted her as a transgender woman and treated her as a cherished member of the family.
â€śWe want to have this event to not only honor JaParker, but to also shine light on the fact that so often members of our society who are GLBT face violence in their daily lives simply because of who they are, and that as a civilized society we will not tolerate violence against the GLBT community,â€ť said Alvin Bethea, Jonesâ€™ stepfather.
â€śAt this memorial we will have prayer, songs, and statements from the community,â€ť Bethea said in an email to the Blade.
He said Jonesâ€™ sister, JuDean Jones, and other family members and friends were helping to organize the memorial remembrance.
The event is scheduled to take place 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 2, at East Capitol Street and Sycamore Street, N.E., at the site of the Metro bus stop where police say Jones was stabbed while sitting on a bench waiting for a bus.
Through the help of witnesses and nearby residents, D.C. police charged 55-year-old Gary Niles Montgomery with second-degree murder while armed in connection with Jonesâ€™ death eight days after the murder took place. In November, a D.C. Superior Court grand jury indicted Montgomery on a charge of first-degree murder while armed.
He has been held in jail without bond since the time of his arrest in February 2012.
A police arrest affidavit says a video surveillance camera which recorded the murder shows a male assailant taking Jonesâ€™ purse immediately after stabbing her in the face. The affidavit says witnesses identified the person in the video as Montgomery.
Although the taking of the purse indicates the motive of the attack was robbery, police said they have not ruled out the possibility that Jones was targeted because of her status as a transgender person.
However, Bethea told the Blade that he and his family believe Jonesâ€™ murder was a hate crime and that police and prosecutors should have classified it as a hate crime, which would give a judge authority to hand down a more stringent or â€śenhancedâ€ť sentence if Montgomery is convicted.
â€śWe believe that it is clear in the video footage of this murder that the elements of a hate crime are present and that hate crime enhancement papers should be served upon this individual,â€ť Bethea said in a email.
He said the family has urged the U.S. Attorneyâ€™s office, which is prosecuting the case, to list the murder as a hate crime.
â€ś[W]e are considering filing a complaint with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division seeking redress of [this] error,â€ť Bethea said in his email.
According to court records, on March 23, Montgomery was declared competent to stand trial following a court ordered mental evaluation. He pleaded not guilty on Nov. 9, two days after the grand jury indicted him on the first-degree murder while armed charge. During a court hearing on Nov. 30, Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin scheduled a trial date for June 10.
Court records show that questions surrounding Montgomeryâ€™s metal health surfaced in January, prompting Morin to order â€ś24 hour forensic screeningâ€ť for Montgomery â€śbased on the representations of defense counsel.â€ť
Morin scheduled a mental observation hearing for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, to assess Montgomeryâ€™s condition.
Court records show Morin denied at least two requests by Montgomeryâ€™s attorneys that he be released from jail while awaiting trial. Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorneyâ€™s office opposed the requests for Montgomeryâ€™s release.
D.C. Homicide Watch, a blog that reports on all murder cases in the city, reported that defense attorney Colle Latin argued in a motion that prosecutors failed to demonstrate that Montgomery would be a risk to the community or of fleeing the area if released. Latin also argued that the video, which is fuzzy in quality, doesnâ€™t clearly identify Montgomery as the person who stabbed Jones.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorneyâ€™s office couldnâ€™t immediately be reached for comment.