Defendant pleads guilty in 2010 fatal beating of Southeast Washington woman

The fifth of six people charged in the 2010 fatal beating of a Southeast Washington woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder.

Brian Gaither, 25, faces a maximum of life in prison when he is sentenced in February. Gaither, who was scheduled to go to trial next week, was among six people charged in the killing of Latisha Frazier, 18.

Prosecutors say Gaither and five of his friends lured Frazier into an apartment in the 1700 block of Trenton Place SE on Aug. 1, 2010, to “teach her a lesson” because they suspected she had stolen about $900 from one of the members of the group.

In the apartment, the group beat, kicked, stomped and choked Frazier until she was unconscious and then placed her in a closet. A day later, they discovered that Frazier was dead. Prosecutors said they took Frazier’s body and placed it in a bathtub and unsuccessfully tried to dismember it. They then allegedly put Frazier’s body in a dumpster. Her body has not been found.

The final defendant in the case, Johnnie Sweets, 18, is scheduled to go to trial in April.

Outside the courtroom, Frazier’s mother, Caroline, said she “felt good” about the plea. Gaither’s attorney, Eugene Ohm of the District’s Public Defender Service, hugged the victim’s mother. “I’m so sorry,” Ohm said. “I know,” she responded.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.

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