Detroit Man Charged with First Degree Murder, Assault with
Intent to Murder, and Felony Firearm in LGBTQ Killing
DETROIT - July 12, 2019 - Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, with the assistance of the Fair Michigan Justice Project (FMJP), has charged Demetris* Nelson, 26 (DOB: 03/25/1993), of Detroit, in connection with the murder and assault of two gay Detroit men. Prosecutors charged Nelson with one count each of First Degree Murder, Felony Murder, Assault with Intent to Murder, Assault with the Intent to Rob While Armed, Felon in Possession of a Firearm and four counts Felony Firearm.**
Nelson was arraigned this morning before 36th District Court Magistrate Jeffrey Kleparek. The Probable Cause Conference is scheduled for July 26, 2019 at 8:30 a.m.; the Preliminary Examination is scheduled for August 2, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. Both hearings are before Judge Ronald Giles in 36th District Court. The defendant was remanded to jail. Please request a photograph of the defendant from the Detroit Police Department.
It is alleged that on July 6, 2019, Nelson shot and killed Brian Anderson, 31, and shot and critically wounded Malcolm Drake, 26, both of Detroit, during the course of an attempted robbery. Anderson and Drake were both gay men. Prosecutors alleged Nelson targeted Anderson and Drake because they were gay, and used the social networking app Grindr to locate the victims.
From July 6 to 8, 2019, an investigation by Detroit Police officers led to Nelson's identification and arrest.
Prosecutor Worthy said, "The allegations are that social media contacts were used to target, contact, rob, fatally shoot one gay man, and seriously wound another gay man. To some this will be just another hateful and violent act in America. They will read about this case and continue to go about their day. To me, that is quite tragic."
The case was assigned to Special Prosecutor Jaimie Powell Horowitz of the FMJP, which is a collaboration between the Prosecutor's Office and Fair Michigan Foundation, Inc. FMJP is a program that assists Michigan law enforcement officers and prosecutors in solving serious crimes against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons.
Fair Michigan President Alanna Maguire said, "We are saddened and outraged by this despicable crime. This case is just the most recent example of how members of Detroit's LGBTQ community are too often targets of violence. The Fair Michigan Justice Project is proud to partner with the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office and the Detroit Police Department to aggressively prosecute these ruthless crimes."
*The defendant's first name is correctly spelled Demetris.
**The charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.