Just two weeks before she was arrested, Jamyra Gallmon told a good friend that she was not the woman whose face had been captured on a D.C. hotel surveillance camera around the time an attorney was fatally stabbed there, the friend said Thursday.
“I literally asked her, I said, ‘Jamyra, you look like that lady in the camera,’ ” the friend said in a telephone interview. “She said, ‘Girl, no, that’s not me. I’m trying to go into the Army.’ ”
Police think Gallmon was lying. And on Thursday — as the 21-year-old made her first court appearance on a first-degree murder charge — they revealed how she initially met up with intellectual-property lawyer David Messerschmitt, and what she claimed spurred her to stab him.
Messerschmitt, 30, had posted on Craigslist, hoping for a sexual encounter with a man, according to police charging documents and officials familiar with the case. He and Gallmon arranged a Feb. 9 meeting, though she would later tell detectives she wanted to rob the lawyer, according to the documents.
In a fourth-floor room at the chic Donovan Hotel on Thomas Circle, something went awry. Gallmon stabbed Messerschmitt repeatedly, leaving the attorney at the international firm DLA Piper fatally wounded in the abdomen, the groin and the heart, according to police.
The case, until Thursday, had been something of a mystery, and those who knew Gallmon at Forestville Military Academy said the arrest of the former high school basketball player and aspiring soldier made it only more confounding.
Brandi Gordon — who asked Gallmon in March whether she was the woman in the surveillance images being shown on TV — said Gallmon was a reliable friend, and she doubted she killed anyone.
“It’s just not settling to me that she killed somebody,” Gordon said. “It probably was a coincidence that she was there.”
Gallmon’s defense attorney said in court Thursday that Gallmon had no criminal record, and friends and a former coach said they could recall no problems with her. The only issue that showed up in public records was a minor, financial matter. On Feb. 24 — a few weeks after Messerschmitt was killed — Gallmon’s landlord took her and a roommate to court for back rent, and the next month, they were ordered to pay $1,860.
Gallmon was charged Wednesday by D.C. police with first-degree murder in the February killing of Messerschmitt, though police revealed few details at the time. On Thursday, in urging a judge to keep her confined, Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana L. Fulton said that Gallmon was dangerous, and her crime pre-planned.
“She set this up, and she could do this again in the future,” Fulton argued.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post
Matt Zapotosky, Keith L. Alexander and Dana Hedgpeth