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Arrest Made in Alston Slaying

Cabinet Member Found Stabbed in Northeast Washington Home

By Del Quentin Wilber, Allan Lengel and Clarence Williams
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, March 17, 2005; 8:16 PM

District police arrested a man today and charged him in the stabbing death yesterday of Wanda R. Alston, who headed the city's office of lesbian and gay issues, police officials said.

Investigators said 38-year-old William Parrot, who lived two doors away from Alston in Northeast Washington, was charged with armed, first-degree murder, the Associated Press reported.

Wanda Alston
Wanda Alston
Wanda R. Alston was the acting director of the District's Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs. (File Photo)

D.C. police Sgt. Brett Parson reflects on the death of colleague Wanda Alston.
Metropolitan police captain C.V. Morris announces the arrest of William Parrot, Jr. in connection with the stabbing death of Wanda Alston.

Alston, 45, was found dead late yesterday in her home in the 3800 block of East Capitol Street. Her slaying has stunned city officials, activists and friends.

This afternoon, police found Alston's car, which had been missing from her home. The gray 2000 Nissan Sentra was parked in the 5000 block of C Street SE. The suspect was arrested a few blocks from where the car was recovered, police said.

In a news conference earlier today, Capt. C.V. Morris of the District police department said there is no indication that Alston's death was caused by a hate crime or was related to her work on lesbian and gay issues.

He said she was stabbed repeatedly. Police learned of the death when they received a call just before 6 p.m. from a friend of Alston's, but Morris refused to name the friend or say what the friend's relationship is to Alston.

When asked if the multiple stab wounds suggested anything about the motives for the killing, Morris said, "It could be a crime of passion, but it could be a stranger too." He said Alston was believed to be the type of individual who might fight back against an intruder. Police have not ruled out any motive, he added.

Morris told reporters that police believe Alston's death occurred yesterday afternoon because they have evidence that she was alive at 1 p.m. He would not give any details on where she may have been or how they know that.

A police source last night said that Alston received a delivery at her home about noon and that her death occurred sometime after that.

City Administrator Robert C. Bobb noted that Alston, who served as acting director of the District Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs, was not at work yesterday. He said he was told then that she had "personal issues to take care of." He did not elaborate.

The mayor said he did not know of any personal problems Alston was having.

Mental health specialists are available to provide grief counseling for city employees who worked with Alston, according to Williams.

"Wanda is irreplaceable," Williams said. But he added that "Wanda is the first person who would want us to continue . . . and we're going to move on."

The reports about Alston's death spread quickly last night among city officials and activists, who remembered her fondly.

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