A preliminary hearing has been set for the California man charged with the murder of drag queen, barber, and singer Curtis Marsh, who was found stabbed to death in his Oakland apartment earlier this year.
Sweven Waterman, 38, is accused of murdering Marsh, 52, a popular member of the Oakland Gay Men’s Chorus. Marsh's body was found in his burning apartment near Lake Merritt on March 4. Neighbors had reportedly heard a man screaming for help in the burning apartment before first responders arrived.
Waterman’s attorney, David J. Briggs, and Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Jake O'Malley appeared in an Alameda County Superior Court and asked Judge Kimberly E. Colwell to set a preliminary hearing for October 17. The trial had been repeatedly delayed due to discovery issues and the absence of Briggs at key hearings.
“I got a lot of it and there’s more coming,” Briggs told the Bay Area Reporter regarding the evidence received from prosecutors in the case. “I'm confident I'm going to have what I need in a short time.”
Waterman pleaded not guilty to the charges in April and remains in custody. He is on leave from his job as a custodian at UC Berkeley. Few details have emerged about Waterman, and Briggs has refused to discuss his client’s sexual identity.
According to court documents, police responded to a report of smoke and a man screaming for help coming from Marsh’s apartment just after 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 4.
“Upon arrival, officers located an Oakland resident with multiple lacerations,” Oakland Police Officer Darryl Rodgers said in an email to the B.A.R. “The victim succumbed to their injuries and medical units pronounced the victim deceased on scene.”
“I heard screams, ‘help, help.’ I got up,” a neighbor who requested anonymity told local tv station KTVU at the time. “My neighbor on the 4th floor was screaming and hollering that Curtis was dead. I was able to view his body. He was laying on his balcony bloodied.”
In July Waterman reportedly refused to appear in court for a hearing. Briggs told the B.A.R. it was most likely because he was ill and could not attend in person. Judge Kimberly Colwell refused to allow Briggs to participate remotely and moved the hearing to August 4. However, Briggs claimed discovery issues made it impossible for him to prepare for trial, but now those issues are apparently resolved.