Gary Montgomery to Stand Trial in Death of Deoni Jones

Gary Montgomery was found mentally competent Friday to stand trial for the death of transgender woman Deoni Jones. Montgomery is charged with first-degree murder.

It’s been more than two years since 23-year-old Jones, also known as JaParker, was stabbed in the side of the head while sitting at a metro stop in Northeast DC.

She died at a hospital the next day and family members are convinced that she was killed for being transgender.

At Friday’s hearing, Jones’s father Alvin Bethea, stood up and interrupted the hearing to express his discontent with the prosecution.

“There has been a great deal of disrespect and lack of sympathy and empathy,” Jones father, Alvin Bethea, said of prosecutors’ treatment of him and his wife, “We are suffering more than enough.”

A trial date is set for October 6. Prosecutors have not filed any hate crime charges despite the family’s allegations.

A video from a surveillance camera near the 4900 block of East Capital Street Northeast shows Jones on Feb. 2, 2012, at approximately 8 p.m. being followed by a black male walking with a limp to a bus stop. According to court documents, a witness in the area described this man as a black male about 5‘11, wearing a black jacket. The witness said the man approached Jones and struck her on the head. On the video, Jones appears to collapse on the sidewalk.

Police later identified Montgomery, a pan-handler in the area, as a suspect. He was arrested Feb. 10, 2012.

In mental health examinations, 55-year-old Montgomery has shown symptoms including schizophrenia, hallucinations, thought disorder and an irritable mood.

In April 5, 2013, after continuous hospitalization at St. Elizabeths Hospital, Montgomery was released after treatment and several examinations.

But Judge Robert Morin said Montgomery did not fare well in jail and that “his mental health deteriorated.” In order to maintain Montgomery’s mental health through the trial preparations, Morin on Friday ordered Montgomery to remain at the psychiatric hospital despite the competency finding.

Meanwhile, Jones’ family is marking the second anniversary of her death.

A memorial rally is scheduled tomorrow, Feb. 8, 2014, at St. Luke’s Church from 4 to 8 p.m. This is the second annual memorial held in Jones remembrance; the first was held at the bus stop where she was stabbed.

Among the list of speakers at the rally is Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who also attended last year. Other guests include the Gay and Lesbian Opposing Violence task force (GLOV), and council members David Catania and Jim Graham.

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