Two of the six co-defendants in the murder of 18-year-old Latisha Frazier were sentenced by Judge William Jackson Friday: Laurence Hassan received an 18-year prison sentence; Cinthya Proctor received a 21-year sentence.
Brian Gaither was sentenced to 32 years in prison in April. The remaining co-defendants are scheduled to be sentenced later this year.
Hassan said Friday that Frazier was his friend and that the beating was never supposed to result in her death.
“I extremely apologize,” Hassan said while addressing Frazier’s family. “If I could change the past I would; it truly hurts. It wasn’t supposed to go down like this. I really want you all to forgive me; I take full responsibility for my actions.”
On August 2, 2010, Sweet and his accomplices lured Frazier to his house where she was punched, stomped, taped, gagged and choked before being tossed in a closet where she eventually died, all because Sweet believed that she had stolen $900 from him.
Sweet, Proctor and Gaither later attempted to dismember Frazier’s body but failed; it was then tossed in a dumpster in the 1700 block of Trenton Place Southeast and never found. Prosectors believe Frazier’s body is now in the Shoosmith Landfill in Chesterfield County, Virginia.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Kavanaugh said Friday that although the six co-defendants are equally responsible for Frazier’s murder, the government “attempted to tailor sentencing to each defendant’s individual acts.”
Hassan, Kavanaugh said, was involved in luring Frazier to her death and then assumed a leadership role in the disposal of her body. Before Gaither and Antoine McCullough dragged Frazier’s body to a dumpster, Hassan drove around D.C. looking for a park to dump it. He never actually laid a hand on Frazier during the beating, Kavanaugh said.
In addition to punching Frazier, Proctor helped tape her hands, feet and mouth; she also helped Sweet and Gaither attempt to dismember the body, Kavanaugh told the court.
Barry Campbell, Frazier’s biological father, addressed the court at sentencing and spoke of the emotional distress the family has endured.
“The loss of my daughter has been very traumatic for our entire family,” Campbell said. “We miss her laughter and all of the wonderful things we used to do together.”
Before reading the terms of his sentence, Judge Jackson said that the government had no proof that Frazier ever stole money from Sweet. Moreover, Frazier was the only one in the group to have a job, he said.
“This is one of the worst cases I have ever presided over,” Jackson said.
A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office is below.
District Man and Woman Sentenced to Prison Terms For Their Roles in Killing of 18-Year-Old Latisha Frazier Victim’s Body Was Left in a Dumpster, Never Found; Two Defendants Are Among Seven People Convicted in Case
WASHINGTON – Cinthya Proctor, 21, and Laurence Hassan, 24, were sentenced today to prison terms for second-degree murder and other charges in the August 2010 kidnapping and murder of 18-year-old Latisha Frazier, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.
Proctor was sentenced to 21 years of incarceration on charges of second-degree murder, kidnapping and conspiracy to commit evidence tampering. Hassan was sentenced to an 18-year prison term for second-degree murder and kidnapping. Both defendants, of Washington, D.C., were sentenced in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by the Honorable William M. Jackson. Upon completion of their prison terms, they will be placed on five years of supervised release.
Proctor, who pled guilty in July 2011, and Hassan, who pled guilty in October 2011, are among six defendants who have pled guilty to charges related to the killing. A seventh defendant was found guilty by a jury last month of first-degree felony murder and other charges.
According to the government’s evidence, Proctor and Hassan were part of a group of six young men and women who took part in the murder of Ms. Frazier.
Ms. Frazier vanished on Aug. 2, 2010. For months, her family relentlessly sought to find her, passing out flyers and contacting local news stations to publicize her disappearance. In late January 2011, one witness finally stepped forward and contacted the Metropolitan Police Department, revealing the truth of Ms. Frazier’s whereabouts.
On the day of her disappearance, the government’s evidence showed, Ms. Frazier had been brutally murdered by the group of six men and women (ages 16 to 23), all of whom she believed to be her friends. The group had suspected - with little evidence - that Ms. Frazier had stolen about $900 from one of the men, Johnnie Sweet. He recruited others and exacted a plan of revenge in which they would call her over to an apartment where they claimed to be socializing.
When Ms. Frazier arrived at the apartment in the 1700 block of Trenton Place SE, the group took her to a small bedroom where Sweet and others punched, kicked, and stomped her all over her body. Ignoring her pleas for them to stop, they bound her in duct tape, taped a pillowcase over her head so she could not scream, and shoved her in a small, dark closet. When she screamed and moaned, one of the members of the group placed her in a sleeper hold to “put her to sleep.” Later, the group discovered that she had died.
Upon learning that Ms. Frazier had died, Proctor took part in a discussion about what to do with her body. The initial plan was to dismember the body, put it in a container, and dispose of it in a park. The next day, Proctor joined in an attempt to dismember the body in a bathtub. But she became physically ill and went to a hospital before the body was removed from the apartment. That evening, Ms. Frazier’s body was thrown into a dumpster, and it is now believed to be somewhere in one or two landfills in rural Virginia.
In addition to Proctor and Hassan, those pleading guilty include Brian Gaither, 25, who was sentenced in April 2013 to a 32-year prison term after pleading guilty to first-degree murder; Anneka Nelson, 18, who pled guilty to second-degree murder and kidnapping; Lanee Bell, 19, who pled guilty to kidnapping, and Antoine McCullough, 27, who pled guilty to conspiracy to commit evidence tampering. Except for Gaither, the other defendants are awaiting sentencing.
Sweet, 19, was found guilty by a jury on April 30, 2013, of first-degree felony murder with aggravating circumstances; first-degree premeditated murder with aggravating circumstances; kidnapping, and tampering with physical evidence. The Honorable Russell F. Canan scheduled sentencing for July 11, 2013. Sweet faces a mandatory minimum of 30 years and a maximum of 60 years of incarceration.
In announcing today’s sentences, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the work of those who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), including detectives from the Major Case/Cold Case Squad and the Seventh District.
They also expressed appreciation for the efforts of those who handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Larry Grasso of the Criminal Intelligence Unit, Victim/Witness Advocate Marcia Rinker, and Paralegal Specialists Kwasi Fields, Phaylyn Hunt, and Angela Lawrence. Finally, they thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher R. Kavanaugh and Melinda Williams, who prosecuted the case.