Main | Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Three Teens Charged In Sex Chat Line Murder Of Gay DC School Principal

Three Washington DC teenagers have been charged in the murder of popular and openly gay high school principal Brian Betts. According to police, Betts was set up for an attack after speaking to one or more of the suspects on a phone sex chat line.
Sharif Tau Lancaster and Alante Saunders, both 18, were charged with murder, robbery and a handgun violation. Police said that a third 18-year-old man was being held and that they expected that he would also be charged in the killing. D.C. officials said Lancaster and Saunders had recently escaped from the custody of a D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services home, but it was not clear whether they were considered escapees at the time of Betts's killing. Montgomery Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said that there was no indication the teens had any relationship with Betts before the educator arranged a meeting with one or more of them on the phone line. Officers said they think the trio used the chat line to find a target to rob. "We believe the motive for this crime was most likely robbery," Manger said. Officers offered no details about how the robbery went wrong or why Betts was shot. Betts, 42, principal at Shaw Middle School at Garnet-Patterson and one of the public faces of education reform efforts in the District, was found dead in his Silver Spring home April 15 by colleagues worried after he failed to show up for work.
Police caught the teens after they and one teen's mother used the victim's credit cards.

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