- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2006


A Montgomery County judge yesterday sentenced an exotic dancer’s killer to life in prison with the possibility of parole, disregarding the jury’s recommendation.

Antoine L. Gatewood, 34, will be eligible for parole after serving a minimum of 25 years under the sentence imposed by Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge D. Warren Donohue.

Gatewood was convicted of killing ex-girlfriend Emily Cagal, who performed at parties using the name “Jordan.”

Authorities think Gatewood killed Miss Cagal, 24, in her Bethesda apartment March 2, then early next morning removed her body in a footlocker.

Gatewood and an accomplice, Dion D. Desir, are seen on the building’s surveillance video putting the footlocker into Miss Cagal’s 2005 Acura sport utility vehicle and driving away in it.

The Acura was found March 8 in the District. Miss Cagal’s body was discovered March 15 in a wooded area of Upper Marlboro.

Prosecutors and jurors recommended that Gatewood be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“We felt that life without parole would be appropriate in this case, given the defendant’s record, given the heinous nature of the murder, and given the fact that he took the stand and blatantly lied,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney Douglas F. Gansler said outside the courtroom.

During the trial, prosecutors told jurors that Gatewood fatally beat Miss Cagal with a bookend, stole her money and tried to cover up the crime by cutting off her finger tips to hide any DNA evidence under her nails.

But Gatewood testified that he hit Miss Cagal in the head with a heavy bookend after they argued about their relationship and she pulled a gun on him.

On Wednesday, the defense continued to insist that Gatewood acted in self-defense.

“We don’t think he’s going to spend the rest of his life in jail. We think the case will be reversed on appeal,” defense attorney Steven Kupferberg said.

At the sentencing yesterday, the defense unsuccessfully asked for a new trial, because they weren’t allowed to have Miss Cagal’s psychiatrist testify.

Desir was sentenced in August to 16 months in prison after pleading guilty to accessory after the fact to a murder for helping remove the body.

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