A District teenager orchestrated the slaying of Latisha M. Frazier by luring her to his apartment and ordering his friends to beat and choke the woman before trying to dismember her in the bathtub, according to charging documents filed Thursday in D.C. Superior Court.
Johnnie Sweet, 17, was shackled and wearing a white polo shirt and khaki pants when he appeared in court Thursday before Magistrate Judge Diane Brenneman. Standing with Sweet were co-defendants Anneka Nelson, 16, and Cinthya A. Proctor, 18. All three are charged as adults with first-degree felony murder and other related charges.
Also Thursday, the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Laurence Kamal Hassan, 23, of Southeast Washington. He was charged in a warrant with felony murder (kidnapping).
In the past two weeks, authorities have arrested and charged five people in Frazier's slaying. Brian A. Gaither, 23, was the first arrested. He was charged with second-degree murder.
Documents filed Thursday by prosecutors gave new and horrifying details in the attack on Frazier, whose body has not been found. Relatives reported Frazier, who lived in Southeast Washington, missing Aug. 4, and they distributed photo fliers across the city, hoping to help locate her.
According to the documents, Sweet told detectives that he suspected Frazier, 19, of stealing $200 from him. Sweet told his friends he was going to invite Frazier, a single mother of a 3-year-old daughter, over to his apartment in the 1700 block of Trenton Place SE.
In three filings, prosecutors made these allegations:
On Aug. 2, six people - including Sweet, Nelson, Proctor and Gaither - gathered at Sweet's apartment to wait for Frazier. After she arrived, Sweet went into a bedroom with Frazier and his other friends. Music was playing loudly, so no one could hear. Frazier exited the bedroom to use the bathroom. When she left, Sweet told Nelson and Proctor to start beating Frazier when she returned.
As Frazier started to sit back down in the bedroom, Nelson hit her, knocking her to the floor. Proctor and another woman joined in and began hitting Frazier. Then Sweet and an unidentified male suspect began stomping and beating Frazier, while Nelson, Proctor and the third woman returned to the living room to "chill," Nelson told the detectives.
As Frazier lay on the bedroom floor, Sweet ordered his friends to tape her legs and arms and put her in a closet. Proctor placed a sheet over Frazier's head and taped the sheet around her neck to keep Frazier from screaming. Gaither then put Frazier in a chokehold. Gaither told detectives that Frazier was alive when he released the hold.
According to the documents, Sweet left his apartment briefly. When he returned, one of his friends said Frazier was dead, and Sweet went to the closet to check.
Nelson told police that the group discussed what to do with Frazier's body but could not decide. Then Nelson and another suspect left to get food. Nelson spent the night at Sweet's apartment and left the next day.
Two days later, Sweet told a friend to get rid of Frazier's body. The unidentified friend removed Frazier's body from the closet and put it in a trash bin in Sweet's apartment. The next day, Sweet and his friend returned the body to the closet.
Several days later, Sweet and Proctor carried Frazier's body to Sweet's bathtub. Proctor grabbed a kitchen knife, and the two tried to dismember the body so it could be removed in a bucket. Sweet said they could not do so because they couldn't stand the smell of decomposition. They put Frazier's body back in the closet.
Days later, Sweet was arrested on an unrelated charge. While jailed, Sweet said he called one of his friends, who told him that Frazier's body had been taken to the trash. Last week, during questioning by detectives, Gaither said he and another person placed Frazier's body in a plastic bin and dragged it to a dumpster behind Sweet's apartment building. Gaither said that when he returned to the dumpster a day later, the body was gone.
The court documents say that Sweet told detectives he had not planned to kill Frazier. He said he wanted his friends to "teach [Frazier] a lesson: Don't take my money."
Courtroom 201 was filled with family members of the defendants and Frazier. At the hearing, attorneys for Sweet, Proctor and Nelson asked the judge to release the teens to a high-intensity supervision program.
Nelson, an attorney said, was taking honors classes at a D.C. charter school. Sweet, 16 at the time of the slaying, was a high school student. Proctor is a mother.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Kavanaugh called the Frazier killing "hideous and ghastly" and asked the judge to order the suspects held in the D.C. jail. The teens will remain in custody until their next hearing Feb. 11.