Metro Weekly

Howard Theatre Three Plead Not Guilty

Three defendants accused of stabbing gay youth near Shaw landmark arraigned

The three individuals accused of stabbing and attempting to rob gay minor in front of the Howard Theatre in June were arraigned in D.C. Superior Court Friday.

All three were previously arraigned in October, when they pleaded not guilty to bias-related assault with a dangerous weapon. But the U.S. Attorney’s Office was able to obtain indictments on nine superseding charges against the defendants, leading to today’s arraignment.

Ali Jackson, accused of leading the attack, was indicted and pleaded not guilty to charges of threatening to kidnap or injure a person, assault with intent to kill (AWIK), assault with significant bodily injury, and robbery. All four charges carry bias enhancements.

Alvonica Jackson was indicted and pleaded not guilty to AWIK and assault with significant bodily injury charges, both of which carry bias enhancements. She also pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree theft that, unrelated to the stabbing, after witnesses to the stabbing claimed they had earlier seen her take $3 from a tip bowl in the Howard Theatre’s bathroom.

Desmond Raimon Campbell, Alvonica Jackson’s boyfriend, was indicted and pleaded not guilty to bias-related AWIK and assault charges.

The three are scheduled for a jury trial that will begin on Jan. 9.

According to charging documents and police testimony from a preliminary hearing in July, Ali Jackson had a verbal argument with the underage victim, whom he knew to be gay, on the evening of June 26 and threatened to stab him, calling him a ”faggot.” Jackson allegedly left the scene near Florida and T Streets NW, but returned later carrying a knife, which witnesses say he then used to stab the victim while Campbell held the victim in a headlock and Alvonica Jackson attempted to hold the victim’s arms. During the attack, the victim produced a can of pepper spray, which his used against his attackers, who then fled the scene. Nearby police officers detained the three suspects and later arrested them.

The victim, who survived the attack, was taken to Howard University Hospital and treated for stab wounds to his left bicep, lower back and left leg.

Police say the three suspects frequently called the victim homophobic slurs and made comments about his sexuality while in custody, evidence that was later used to add the bias enhancements to the charges against the three.

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