Southeast man convicted of luring man to death through chat line

By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 2, 2011; B01

The plan was to call a gay chat line in the District and lure a man to a secluded area and rob him. That's what Antwan Holcomb, who was convicted Tuesday of felony first-degree murder while armed, told D.C. homicide detectives in a videotaped interview that was played in D.C. Superior Court.

Men who call into the anonymous chat lines, Holcomb told the detectives, were working professionals who wouldn't report robberies for fear of disclosing their lifestyles. "You come up with a lot of money on there," he told the detectives.

Just after 2 a.m. Dec. 27, 2009, Holcomb called the line and spoke with Anthony Perkins, 29, of Southeast, who lived with his mother and worked as a dispatcher for a heating and air conditioning company. The men eventually exchanged phone numbers.

About two hours later, prosecutors say, Holcomb persuaded Perkins to meet him by an alley in the 2900 block of Fourth Street SE, near the house where Holcomb was staying. Before arriving, Perkins stopped at a nearby gas station and purchased a pack of Newport cigarettes. Holcomb later told detectives Newports were his favored brand.

Prosecutors say Holcomb, 21, got into the passenger side of Perkins's Lincoln Town Car. The two drove around the block several times before Holcomb pulled out a .380-caliber handgun and shot Perkins once in the right temple, prosecutors said.

Perkins was found dead behind the steering wheel of the car, his Bluetooth earpiece still hooked on.

After a five-day trial overseen by Chief Judge Lee F. Satterfield, a jury found Holcomb guilty on six counts, including the felony murder charge. He will be sentenced May 5.

After the verdict was read, Holcomb's mother, Lillian, offered condolences to Perkins's mother. "I am so sorry," she said. "I did the best I could do with my son. I tried to get him help."

Prosecutors Michael Liebman and Steve Swaney had several pieces of evidence against Holcomb. They had phone records indicating the call to the chat room. In addition, the bullet removed from Perkins's skull came from the same gun Holcomb used 12 days earlier to wound a man outside a District nightclub.

Witnesses testified about parts of the deadly encounter. One witness said that he heard a gunshot and then saw Holcomb walking from the direction of the sound. Another witness testified that she saw Holcomb and Perkins "struggling" in the car and that Holcomb later said that "it was either him or me."

Holcomb's attorneys, Ronald Horton and Quo Judkins of the District's Public Defender Service, argued that their client was never in the car. Neither his fingerprints nor his DNA were found inside. There were no witnesses to the actual shooting.

In the video shown to the jury, Holcomb said he and some of his friends were "chilling" in the 500 block of Lebaum Street SE when they told him to call the chat line so they could "pull a move" - commit a robbery.

"I told [Perkins] to park down there," Holcomb told the detectives. "I told him to go to the alley by the house. I stood at the door to see."

But Holcomb denied going to the car. Someone who looked like him did, Holcomb said, but he refused to identify the person.

Holcomb said the unidentified man returned to the house after the robbery and told him "[expletive] went bad." Holcomb then tried to give the detectives a reason his friend might have killed Perkins. "You do something with him, and you didn't want him telling," he said.

No valuables were stolen. The only thing missing: the pack of cigarettes.

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