D.C. man pleads guilty to 2010 kidnapping and murder case

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Local,Crime,Ben Giles

A District man pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder in the death of an 18-year-old woman prosecutors say was kidnapped and killed by a group of six individuals in 2010, U.S. attorneys announced.

Brian Gaither, 25, faced multiple charges -- including kidnapping, first-degree premeditated murder and tampering with physical evidence -- and was scheduled to head to trial Monday for the death of Latisha Frazier in August 2010, before he pleaded guilty to the single felony murder charge Tuesday.

Gaither is the third individual to plead guilty in the case: Cinthya Proctor and Laurence Hassan have pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and other charges, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors say Gaither, Proctor, Hassan and three other individuals lured Frazier into a Southeast D.C. apartment on Aug. 2, 2010 to "teach her a lesson" -- one of the other suspects, Johnnie Sweet, believed Frazier had stolen $900 that he kept stored at the apartment, according to court records.

When Frazier arrived at the apartment, she was walked to a small bedroom inside, where three women were waiting for her. The women beat Frazier, punching, kicking and stomping her. Gaither and Sweet soon joined in, beating Frazier while she lay bleeding on the floor, pleading with them to stop, according to court documents.

The group then bound her wrists and feet and taped cloth over her mouth to keep her quiet, then put her in the bedroom closet before Gaither went back to choke Frazier to stop her muffled moans, according to court records.

Later in the day, one member of the group went to check on Frazier and found she was dead.

The next day, Gaither, Sweet and Proctor placed Frazier's body in a bathtub and tried to dismember her using a large kitchen knife but were unsuccessful, according to prosecutors. Instead, Gaither and an unnamed individual put her body in a trash bin.

Frazier's body was never found, and prosecutors believe it was taken to a rural landfill in Virginia.

Gaither is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 1 and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Sweet is scheduled to go trial in April. Both Gaither and Sweet rejected plea deals in May that would have capped sentencing at 38 years in prison, according to Homicide Watch.

Cases for the two other alleged members of the group, Aneka Nelson and Lanee Bell, are listed as "pending grand jury."

bgiles@washingtonexaminer.com

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