Preliminary hearing pushed back 4th time in gay Oakland murder case

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Tuesday February 6, 2024
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Oakland resident Curtis Marsh was fatally stabbed almost a year ago, but the preliminary hearing for his accused killer has been continued until April. Photo: Courtesy Oakland LGBTQ Community Center
Oakland resident Curtis Marsh was fatally stabbed almost a year ago, but the preliminary hearing for his accused killer has been continued until April. Photo: Courtesy Oakland LGBTQ Community Center

The preliminary hearing in the case of the UC Berkeley employee charged in the killing of a gay Black man in Oakland last year was pushed back again. This is the fourth time the hearing has been continued.

As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported, it was originally set for October 17 last fall. Then, during a court hearing that day, the Alameda County District Attorney's office requested a new date, which was given November 17.

The hearing didn't happen that day, either, because the DA requested another continuance, according to David Briggs, attorney for defendant Sweven Waterman. It was then pushed to January 14 but didn't happen because the DA wasn't ready, Briggs said, and was continued again to February 6.

Briggs stated to the B.A.R. February 5 that it has been rescheduled for April 2.

Waterman, 38, of Oakland, is charged with homicide in the March 4 stabbing death of Curtis Marsh, 53, also of Oakland. Waterman has pleaded not guilty and remains in custody at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. In a previous interview, Briggs demurred when asked about his client's sexual orientation. Waterman is on administrative leave from his job as a senior custodian at UC Berkeley.

Marsh, who was also known as drag artist Touri Monroe, was a hair stylist and a Miss Gay Oakland emeritus who used to sing with the Oakland Gay Men's Chorus. Originally from Iowa, friends described him as fun, helpful, and active in his church.

Briggs has told the B.A.R. in past reports that Waterman did not know Marsh, as far as he knew.

Police responded to Marsh's home on Vernon Street in the Adams Point neighborhood just before 8 a.m. March 4 after a report of a disturbance, Oakland Police Officer Darryl Rodgers previously stated in an email to the B.A.R.

The "disturbance" consisted of "reports of an individual screaming," stated Paul Chambers, the strategic communication manager for the Oakland Police Department.

When officers arrived, Oakland firefighters were on the scene extinguishing a fire.

"Upon arrival, officers located an Oakland resident with multiple lacerations," Oakland Police Officer Darryl Rodgers stated. "The victim succumbed to their injuries and medical units pronounced the victim deceased on scene. Investigators from the OPD Homicide Section responded to the scene to begin the follow-up investigation into the circumstances surrounding the homicide."

Neighbors told KTVU-TV that the perpetrator set the fire and left the front door and gate open when running away. No motive has been given, nor the circumstances of if — or how — the two men knew one another.

Waterman has six prior convictions dating back to 2002, including felony evasion, forgery, robbery, and vehicle theft, according to Berkeley Scanner.

A memorial for Marsh was held March 11 at the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center where friends remembered him.

Marsh is one of at least two gay Black men who were killed in Oakland last year. But, so far, no suspect has been found in the March 12 shooting death of Devonte Davis, police told the B.A.R. October 17. Oakland police did not return a request from the B.A.R. for an update on the Davis case February 5.

The two incidents are unrelated.

The Alameda County DA's office did not return multiple requests for comment.

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