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Slain DC Principal met his alleged killers over sex phone line

Police collect evidence at Artura Williams' home on 5th St NW on Monday after they arrested her.
Police collect evidence at Artura Williams' home on 5th St NW on Monday after they arrested her.

     Three people have been arrested in connection with the killing of Brian Betts, 46, the popular principal of a DC middle school. Two of the suspects have been charged with murder.

     Sharif Tau Lancaster, 18, of Northwest Washington, and Alante Saunders, also 18, of no fixed address, have been charged with murder, Police Chief Thomas Manger said. The third man has not yet been charged and Manger did not release his name.

     Artura Otey Williams, the mother of Lancaster, was also arrested on Monday morning in connection with the crime. Officers arrived at her house early Monday morning and took her into custody. She is accused of knowingly using Bett's stolen credit card. The card was used the day after Bett's murder at a Giant grocery store, and Williams was spotted on the store surveillance video using his credit card.

     Police Chief Manger said Principal Betts met one or more of the suspects on a "sex chat line." He would not elaborate on the claim and said the investigation is not concluded yet. Lancaster and Saunders are being held in Montgomery County, where Betts was slain. Williams is being held in DC, waiting extradition to the neighboring Maryland county.

     Brian Betts was killed in his home in Silver Spring, Maryland on the night of April 14-15. Police released some information on that night's events, saying Betts called his sister around 10:50 pm and then made a call to an unknown number about a half hour later. A witness reported a car leaving an alley near his house around 12:15 am and some of Betts' coworkers found him dead the next day.

     The Washington Post has created a timeline of the events leading up to and just after Bett's murder, available here.


  • Erin 5 years ago

    Such a tragic story. I'm happy they have at least made some arrests.

  • Jane K. 5 years ago

    This article was good reporting.
    I read two morning editions of your hard copy rags on the same topic today, however, one of which was APPALLING.
    They had 2 different headlines, which proves that one of them was unecessary. The headline in question stands to traumatize every child who can read at the third-grade level. As a public school teacher I strongly object to the INNAPROPRIATE use of a headline on a newspaper that is available to any child riding a bus or subway---or just walking past one of your street dispensers. PLEASE ALERT YOUR PRINT DIVISION THAT this is intolerable!
    Jane K.

  • JUDGEWRIGHT 5 years ago

    Michelle Rhee fires teachers who she say molested or had sexual relations with students. Michelle Rhee recruits a principal from the state of Maryland who molests and has sex with students. What in the hell is wrong with her. Either she swant the freaks teaching our children or she does not. What a poor selection on her part. I wonder how many unreported cases of sexual abuse were held at the principals home.

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