The night before a 61-year-old Northeast man was fatally beaten in his basement apartment, he was attacked and bound in a similar manner but did not report the incident to police, according to testimony in D.C. Superior Court on Thursday.
Three men accused in the brutal and bizarre killing last month of Glenn Scarborough — one of them the son of Scarborough's longtime girlfriend — were in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing, which is expected to continue for several days.
On the evening of June 17, Scarborough answered his door naked and was attacked by several men who left him bound with white rope until he was found and cut loose the next morning, Metropolitan Police Department homicide Detective Dwayne Corbett said during testimony.
The following day, hoping to exact revenge on the man one of the attackers believed was responsible for the rape of his mother, prosecutors said the men returned to finish the job. Police found Scarborough dead on June 19, with a belt wrapped around his neck, duct tape around his head and legs, and several stab wounds in his neck.
Three men, Theodore "Reggie" Spencer, 21, of Unionville, Va., Phillip Charles Swan, 19, of Orange, Va., and Terrell Antwuan Wilson, 19, of Culpeper, Va., have been charged with first-degree murder in the case and admitted their involvement during police interviews.
Scarborough and Mr. Spencer's mother had been romantically involved for close to 10 years, said the woman's mother Ruby Ashton, who attended the court proceeding. During that time, Ms. Spencer, who died June 22 from cancer, had routinely exhibited signs of abuse, Mrs. Ashton said.
"When she would come to the house, I would see the black and blue marks all over her body and patches of her hair that were missing," she said in an interview.
Mr. Wilson's defense attorney, Lauren Bernstein, said during the hearing that on one occasion, Scarborough tried to set Ms. Spencer on fire.
When Ms. Spencer grew ill, Mrs. Ashton said she was alerted to her daughters worsening condition and took her to a hospital.
That day, Mr. Spencer visited his mother in the hospital and overheard a conversation indicating his mother had been raped and contracted a sexually transmitted disease, which worsened her condition, according to testimony and court documents. Believing Scarborough was responsible, Mr. Spencer recruited his friends to exact revenge.
According to court testimony, the young men were not alone. Two girls, either sisters or girlfriends of the three men rode with them to Scarborough's house the night of the murder, Detective Corbett said, citing interviews with the men and witnesses.
"One girl said she left the car and went to the alley and knocked on [Scarborough's] door so all the guys could get in," he said. "She knew they were going to beat him up. They were upset."
Neither the girls nor the men conceded that they planned to murder Scarborough, Detective Corbett said, citing interviews he conducted with the suspects. The girls stayed in the car during the attack, he added.
Mr. Spencer told police during an interview that he immediately took Scarborough to the floor in a chokehold, Detective Corbett said. Duct tape was wrapped around Scarborough's mouth and head and he was stabbed in the neck.
Mr. Spencer "was initially hesitant about putting the knife in [Scarborough] but his hand got heavy and he kept going and going," Detective Corbett said.
Finally, the men removed Scarborough's belt, wrapped it around his neck and pulled tight, but the belt broke, Detective Corbett said. The men then rejoined the girls in their car and headed back to their homes in Virginia, stopping once along the way to throw several items off a bridge into a river, he said.
The preliminary hearing is scheduled to continue Friday.
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