The trial begins for a teenager accused of stabbing to death a young black gay Brooklyn man because he believed he was gay and flirting with him.
Nineteen-year-old Omar Willock is charged with fatally stabbing 20-year-old Roberto Duncanson to death on May 12, 2007. Willock is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one as a hate crime. Willock faces life in prison if convicted.
Witnesses and the prosecution say the two men passed each other on St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights. Willock began yelling anti-gay and homophobic epithets at Duncanson, who was gay, because he believed Duncanson was flirting with him. Duncanson's cousin, 24-year-old Jeimar Brown, took the witness stand and described what he saw.
"It was a boy I've never seen before," said Brown. "Him and my cousin had a dispute... Then after that it was sexual orientation slurs, such as faggot."
The man accused Duncanson of looking at him. Duncanson responded by saying, "Batty boy, you look like somebody wants to suck your dick," Brown said. The man then followed them down the street, continuing with the taunts, and then he and Duncanson came to blows.
"When the guy first lashed at [Duncanson], he lashed back," Brown said. It was only after Brown and two girls were able to pull the two men apart that Brown saw a knife in the stranger's hand. "After, I saw the knife," Brown said. "That's when he ran off."
Duncanson died one hour later at Kings County Hospital.
Brown was "unable to identify Duncanson's killer in a police line up and was not asked to identify Willock." However, police say videotape and other circumstantial evidence place Willock near the scene of the crime. Another witness who saw the fatal stabbing has identified Willock, but defense attorneys are trying raise reasonable doubt because the defendant has an identical twin brother.
Roberto Duncanson, who was nicknamed "Pancho", was out to coworkers and close friends but not his mother or family. In an interview shortly after he was killed, his mother said he was a loving son with "the heart of a lion."