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Four suspects indicted in Betts killing

A Montgomery County grand jury on Thursday indicted four suspects in connection with the slaying of well-known D.C. principal Brian Betts.

Police previously charged the four with murder.. The indictment moves the case from District Court to Circuit Court, where murders are tried.

Betts, 42, was found shot to death inside his Silver Spring home on April 15.

According to court records, the four -- Sharif T. Lancaster, Alante Saunders and Deontra Q. Gray, all 18, and Joel Johnson, 19 -- all were indicted on counts of:

  • Murder
  • Conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon
  • Robbery with a dangerous weapon
  • Use of handgun while committing a violent crime
  • Credit card theft
  • Unauthorized use of a credit card.

David Felsen, an attorney for Saunders, and Barbara Graham, an attorney for Gray, said Friday they had not yet seen evidence in the case, and they declined to comment.

Attorneys for Lancaster and Johnson couldn't be reached.

--Dan Morse

By Dan Morse  |  May 28, 2010; 3:38 PM ET
Categories:  Dan Morse , From the Courthouse , Montgomery  
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Next: D.C. man gets 24 years for 2009 shooting that killed woman


Just so we have this right, Betts had invited Sharif, Alante, and Deonrtra to his house for thugs sex.

Betts was stupid enough to invite these thugs to his house for sex. He got what he deserved.

Posted by: checkered1 | May 28, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Checkered1, this man didn't deserve to die because he wanted some casual sex with men from a gay chatline. Maybe Brian Betts was a lonely man.

Posted by: Ward4DC | May 28, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Checkered1, murder is wrong, no matter the circumstances.

Posted by: cricket35 | May 28, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Nowadays, I wouldn't invite one unknown black youth into my house, much less four at the same time!! Betts obviously had serious problems; maybe he was into S&M. In this case the S&M was stupid and murderous.

Posted by: rpcv84 | May 28, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I believe he invited one of the black thugs into his house for sex and then the thug came back with his friends to rob and kill the man. Anyone stupid enough to invite a black thug devil into his or her home should not be surprised by the outcome. Black thugs are pretty well known for stealing what they can and on occasion killing too. I'm sure they all got a good blow job before they killed the poor guy!

Posted by: joejack65 | May 29, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

@rpcv84: The majority of people in the District are not murders. That includes black people. Your stereotyping is, at best, asanine.

Inasmuch as it is speculation that Betts was trolling for sex with young, thug, black males, it is equally speculation that he wasn't. To assume that he was seeking a mutual experience with someone his own age and race, too, is speculation.

Why would Betts, who was out and socialized at gay clubs, not pick up a date in person at those 'safer' venues? He was a smart man who surely knew the risks associated with anonymous phone and internet sex networks.

Could he not have been seeking a date that would not meet up to the 'standards' of his Duponte white gay social circle? Isn't it possible that he, like MANY other gay white males in DC, had a secret fetish for young, thug black men, based in no small part, on a certain sexual stereotype of black men? That he wanted to USE them but not let it be publicly known that he USES them?

Men getting robbed and killed using anonymous sex lines is nothing new. It has happened in in the District on more than one occasion and recently. Not surprising however, is that the Post never reported on THOSE cases.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | May 29, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Not that speculation on the circumstances of how the four suspects came to be at Betts' house that night serves any purpose, but we are talking about career criminals.

It's entirely possible (and I'd wager even probable) that one of the suspects arranged the meet, possibly under false pretenses (people do occasionally misrepresent themselves online, shocker!), and then brought the others along as backup intending to rob Mr. Betts.

However it happened, it's a tragedy that it ended in the loss of a respected and much-beloved school administrator.

Posted by: DivineMsK | May 29, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

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