- The Washington Times - Friday, March 18, 2005

An unemployed Northeast man yesterday admitted in a court statement that he killed mayoral aide Wanda R. Alston, a leading advocate for homosexual rights in the District.

William M. Parrott Jr., 38, a married father of three, stood silent and motionless in D.C. Superior Court as he was charged with killing his neighbor and while prosecutors said he committed the crime while high on crack cocaine.

According to charging documents, Mr. Parrott said that after spending all day doing drugs he took a knife from his kitchen and went to Miss Alston’s home where he jumped her.

He then took Miss Alston’s keys from her door, returned home and put his clothes and the knife in a white bag to dispose of them in a Dumpster, the documents say.

Mr. Parrott told police that he found Miss Alston’s wallet while driving around in her car, then used the credit cards to buy gas, sell it to motorists for cash and use the money to buy more crack cocaine, according to the documents.

Mr. Parrott, who is charged with first-degree murder, appeared during the 10-minute hearing before Magistrate Judge Diana Harris Epps dressed in a gray T-shirt, jeans and surgical booties. Mr. Parrott was ordered held without bail because the judge was concerned about his admitted drug use.

Earline Budd, a friend of Miss Alston’s, said it was difficult to see Mr. Parrott in court and to imagine what happened.

“It was very upsetting,” she said. “I looked at him, and he looked like an old man.”

Mr. Parrott lived next door to Miss Alston, whose body was found Wednesday evening inside her home in the 3800 block of East Capitol Street NE.

Police arrested Mr. Parrot on Thursday after a resident alerted police that Miss Alston’s Nissan Sentra had been found about two miles from her home. He was taken into custody after witnesses identified him as the driver.

Miss Alston, 45, was the director of the mayor’s Office on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs. Her housemate found her body near the front door.

Miss Alston had worked in the office of the deputy mayor for public safety and justice, and she was a liaison to the mayor’s office from 1999 to 2000 for the U.S. Census Bureau.

Before that she worked for the homosexual rights group Human Rights Campaign, formed a consulting company and worked as a legal assistant.

Miss Alston was a D.C. delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention and took a leave of absence from her Cabinet post to work on Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign. She lost a re-election bid to the Democratic State Committee in September.

Her work for the mayor was recognized in September, when he upgraded her position, which had been a one-woman show for three years, to a Cabinet position in charge of a full staff.

She had been working to organize a homosexual and transgender summit called by the mayor and scheduled for April.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday at All Souls Unitarian Church, 16th and Harvard streets NW in Columbia Heights.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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