Police arrest UC employee in Oakland killing of gay man

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Monday March 13, 2023
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Curtis Marsh was found fatally stabbed in his Oakland home March 4.
Curtis Marsh was found fatally stabbed in his Oakland home March 4.

Oakland police have arrested a UC Berkeley employee in the recent stabbing death of a gay man, they confirmed to the Bay Area Reporter.

Sweven Waterman, 38, of Oakland, was arrested Thursday, March 9, and charged the following day by the Alameda County District Attorney's office with the homicide of Curtis Marsh, 53, according to the University of California Police Department and Oakland Police Department Public Information Officer Kim Armstead.

Marsh was identified by police to the B.A.R. last Thursday afternoon after notification of his next of kin. Police said that so far their investigation shows no evidence of a hate crime, as the Bay Area Reporter previously reported.

The University of California Police Department assisted in apprehending Waterman, Armstead stated, but Oakland police have not responded to a follow-up email asking if the arrest was made on the UC Berkeley campus.

Waterman works for the university, according to the Berkeley Scanner, which stated he is a senior custodian with UC Berkeley's housing and dining services. He's being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin and has six prior convictions dating back to 2002, the publication reported, including felony evasion, forgery, robbery, and vehicle theft.

An arraignment was scheduled for March 13 but Waterman did not enter a plea and the next court date will be March 21. The UC Berkeley press office declined to give a statement but Janet Gilmore, the school's senior director of strategic communications, stated, "Waterman is on administrative leave from his position of senior custodian" and provided a statement from the UCPD. This statement contradicts an earlier Oakland police assertion that the arrest was made Friday.

"On March 9, 2023 at 3:38 p.m. the University of California Police Department (UCPD) assisted the Oakland Police Department with the apprehension of a university employee wanted in connection with a homicide that occurred in Oakland," the UCPD statement read. "The subject was safely taken into custody and turned over to the Oakland Police Department. OPD is the lead agency, please direct any additional questions to the Oakland Police Department."

DeeDee Twine, right, lifelong friend of Curtis Marsh, spoke at a vigil Saturday, March 11, at the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland  

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

Police responded to the 200 block of 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 stated in an email to the B.A.R.

That "disturbance" consisted of "reports of an individual screaming," Chambers confirmed. When officers arrived, Oakland firefighters were on the scene extinguishing a fire.

"Upon arrival, officers located an Oakland resident with multiple lacerations," 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.

The Alameda County Public Defender's office stated to the B.A.R. that it is not representing Waterman, and an attorney for him could not be immediately located.

The Alameda County District Attorney's office has not responded to a request for comment for this report as of press time.

Updated, 3/14/23: This article has been updated with additional informaiton.

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