Police in San Bernardino, Calif. have identified Dantjier Powell, 18, as a suspect in the murder of Domonique Newburn. Police investigating a call about a disturbance found Newburn’s body in his ground floor apartment around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Police say Powell and Newburn may have been romantically involved.
“There’s a possibility the suspect and Newburn were involved in a relationship of some sort,” said police spokesman Doug Imhof. “We are not investigating this as a hate crime at this time.”
Powell may have left the state via Greyhound bus and may be in the company of Jamie Nicole Cotton, 25, of Highland, authorities said.
Police are also investigating the possibility that Newburn supplemented his income by providing sexual services for men. Police discovered an advertisement placed on the website Backpage.com with Newburn’s picture attached to it.
“Lots of transgendered people turn to the sex trades during their transition,” said Tara Wallace, 26, a cross dresser from Moreno Valley who attended a vigil on Wednesday night outside of Newburn’s apartment. “Sometimes it’s the only job they can get.”
About 40 people attended the vigil for Newburn, whose real name is Daymond Watford.
“He was a good person. He didn’t deserve this,” said Newburn’s childhood friend Tony Brown. “We were going to hang out with him. He had just texted my sister. It’s really sad that somebody killed him.”
Newburn was one of the stars of the reality TV series “Hollywood Houseboys,” which aired in 2010. The series followed the lives of four gay friends trying to make it in Hollywood.
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