Suspect in Court for Columbia Heights Gay Killing

Man accused of shooting, setting victim on fire, gets January date for next hearing

The man accused of killing a gay man in July in Columbia Heights by shooting and setting him on fire appeared in D.C. Superior Court today, where he was scheduled for a felony status conference early next year.

Jermaine Brown, of Northwest Washington, is accused of killing 31-year-old Randolph Scott Harris Jr. of Northwest D.C. on July 26 by shooting Harris three times and then setting him on fire while he was still alive. Prosecutors are seeking an indictment against Brown on the charge of felony murder currently lodged against him.

Brown was arrested following an investigation that connected him to the crime scene by witnesses who placed Brown in the area around the time of the murder. Other witnesses told police that they had seen Brown with a bag containing an iPad, iPhones and an iPod touch, which had been left at the home of a third party. From there, a witness returned that bag to the police, who matched the serial numbers on the devices to packaging in the victim’s home.

Prior to his arrest, Brown was interviewed multiple times by police and was challenged about inconsistencies in his statements to investigators. According to charging documents, in the course of one of the interviews Brown told police that he had visited the victim, whom he referred to as ”Man,” and alleged that Man, who was gay, had tried to ”holla” at him, meaning initiate some sort of sexual relationship. Brown denied ever ”going that way” – or engaging in a sexual relationship with Harris – because he told police he saw something wrong with being gay and described it as ”nasty.”

Brown has not been charged with any bias enhancements related to Harris’s murder. On Thursday, Judge Robert E. Morin scheduled Brown for a felony status conference for Jan. 10, 2014. Brown remains held without bond as he awaits trial.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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