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FRC Shooting Case Continued to January

by John Riley
Wednesday Dec 19, 2012

The man accused of shooting a security guard at the D.C. headquarters of the anti-LGBT Family Research Council (FRC), appeared in U.S. District Court Thursday morning for a status conference, during which both his defense lawyer and government prosecutors requested a continuance as both sides prepare for trial.

Judge Richard Roberts scheduled Corkins's next status conference for Jan. 8. Roberts also told the lawyers for both sides that, in the case that a plea deal is reached between Corkins's lawyer, David Bos, and the government, lawyers should inform the court by early January, in time for the scheduled hearing.

In granting the continuance, Roberts said that each side would have more opportunity for discovery, the process during which both sides may obtain evidence, such as witness or police statements, documents or other information, that might be used in trial.

In the meantime, Corkins remains held without bond.

Corkins pleaded not guilty in late October after being indicted on 10 charges. Among those charges was one count of committing an act of terrorism while armed, becoming the first defendant charged with an ''act of terrorism'' as defined under a section of the District of Columbia's Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002.

Corkins was also indicted and pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder while armed, assault with intent to kill while armed, aggravated assault while armed, second-degree burglary while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and a federal charge of interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition.

Corkins, 28, of Herndon, Va., is accused of entering FRC headquarters and shooting security guard Leonardo Reno Johnson, 46, on Aug. 15. Corkins allegedly told Johnson, ''I don't like your politics,'' before shooting him. According to police reports, an injured Johnson was able to wrestle the gun away from Corkins and subdue him until Metropolitan Police Department officers arrived. For those actions, Mayor Vincent Gray honored Johnson with the inaugural Mayor's Medal of Honor.

A day after the shooting, Tony Perkins, FRC's president, blamed the attack on the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) designation of his organization as a ''hate group.'' SPLC responded that FRC earned the label for ''knowingly spread[ing] false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people.''

On the day of the shooting, Corkins allegedly brought a bag of Chick-fil-A sandwiches with him to the crime scene, stirring speculation that the crime might be connected to LGBT rights, following a period when Chick-fil-A came under fire for supporting a foundation that makes donations to various anti-gay organizations. Corkins had also previously volunteered as a receptionist at The DC Center, the District's LGBT community center.

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