Teens Charged in Murder of Gay Principal

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com May 04 2010 9:45 AM ET

Maryland county police charged two teenagers Monday in the murder of popular D.C. middle school principal Brian Betts last month. Sharif Lau Lancaster and Alante Saunders, both 18, met Betts on a sex chat line hours before he was killed. Police said a third teenager was also likely to be charged in the killing.

According to The Washington Post, police in Montgomery County believe that robbery was the motive. Betts was found dead in his Silver Spring home on April 15 after he failed to appear at work at Shaw Middle School at Garnet-Patterson.

“Montgomery Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said that there was no indication the teens had any relationship with Betts before the educator arranged a meeting with one or more of them on the phone line. Officers said they think the trio used the chat line to find a target to rob.”

Police said the suspects were identified with help from clues including fingerprints inside the victim's home and his stolen SUV, and receipts from his credit cards, which were used by Lancaster, Saunders, and Lancaster’s mother.

Betts, who was 42, arrived at Shaw Middle School in 2008 and became a high-profile advocate of reform in the D.C. school system.