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$1-million warrant issued for alleged killer of transgender woman

HomicideSocial IssuesTelevision Industry

Authorities have issued a $1-million arrest warrant for a San Bernardino man suspected of killing a transgender woman in Fontana last week.

Detectives are continuing to search for Dantjier Domenick Powell, who they said may have fled the state by bus with his girlfriend, 25-year-old Jaime Nicole Cotton of Highland.

Police say Powell, 18, killed transgender YouTube reality-show star Domonique Newburn in her apartment Aug. 20. Newburn’s body was found near a window in what authorities said may have been a last failed attempt to escape her attacker.

Authorities identified Powell as the suspect in the days after the killing. His arrest warrant includes extradition, authorities said.

On Saturday, Powell’s father made a public plea for his son to give himself up.

“I wouldn’t be saying this if I didn’t love you,” Loueadry Powell told KTLA. “I’m coming out from my heart and my soul. Everybody’s here — your brothers, your sisters. We all agree, you should come on, turn yourself in.... Come home. Just turn yourself in and we’ll take care of it.”

Newburn, 31, was found dead inside her apartment in the 7900 block of Bennett Avenue about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday after residents called police reporting a disturbance.

Detectives told KABC-TV that Newburn’s front door had been boarded up, and bloodstains and a hole in the wall next to the front door indicated that there had been a struggle.

Police said Powell may have a cut on his right pinkie finger but did not elaborate on how he may have gotten the wound.

Newburn’s vehicle — which authorities initially believed had been stolen by her killer — was found in a park 13 miles away. It had been there “for some time,” police said.

Last week, detectives served search warrants on two homes in San Bernardino and detained several people before identifying Powell as the suspect.

Police said Powell may have been in a relationship with Newburn, who had her name changed from Daymond Watford in June 2010, according to San Bernardino County records.

A month later, Newburn appeared under her stage name Domonique Beckham in the premiere episode of “Hollywood Houseboys,” a Web reality show focusing on a group of young, black gay men trying to make it big in Los Angeles.

The show’s producer, Ryan Hope, issued a statement to reporters:

"We are all deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of our sister, Domonique Newburn. Domonique was an amazing person whose spirit transcended gender. When we set out to document our lives for reality television, we never once wished to make headlines like this. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with her family."

Hope told The Times that Newburn's family has declined to comment until her killer is caught.

Anyone with information may call Fontana police at (909) 356-8477. Anyone who thinks they may have spotted Powell outside Fontana should call 911, Imhof said.

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joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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