News Briefing

Hearing set in Williams case

A status conference is scheduled this month in the case of Charles N. Sargent, who’s accused of murdering and dismembering transgender woman Diamond Williams.

Sargent was arrested last July but, due to concerns about his mental competency, hasn’t yet had a preliminary hearing.

An update on Sargent’s mental competency is expected to be provided during the court proceeding.

It’s scheduled for 9 a.m. July 16 in Courtroom 1103 of the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert St. Municipal Court Judge Marsha H. Neifield will preside.

Sargent allegedly stabbed Williams, 31, in his Strawberry Mansion home after an argument. Sargent reportedly brought Williams to his home for a sexual encounter.

He stands accused of murder, abuse of a corpse and related offenses.

Sargent, 44, remains incarcerated at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Northeast Philadelphia.

His attorney, J. Michael Farrell, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Mazzoni supports Nizah probe

Mazzoni Center, the region’s only LGBT-focused health-care and legal center, has endorsed a state probe of the Nizah Morris case.

Justice for Nizah committeemember Lynn Zeitlin announced Mazzoni’s support at this week’s J4N committee meeting.

Mazzoni adds its name to a list of about 20 national, state and local groups that have called for a state probe of the case.

Morris was a transgender woman who became a homicide victim shortly after entering a police vehicle in 2002. The case remains unsolved.

Last year, the city’s Police Advisory Commission recommended state and federal probes into the Morris case, citing an “appalling” local investigation.

Also at the meeting, J4N members said they’ll request a meeting with Councilman Kenyatta Johnson. They hope to persuade Johnson to introduce a City Council resolution in support of a state probe of the Morris case.

After her head injury, Morris was found at 16th and Walnut streets, which is in Johnson’s councilmanic district.

J4N members also prioritized outreach efforts to obtain additional endorsements for a state probe, before sending a letter to state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane.

— Tim Cwiek

Fletman confirmed by committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee last week unanimously recommended out Philadelphia attorney Abbe Fletman for confirmation for a judgeship on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Fletman was one of 13 judicial nominees the committee unanimously recommended June 27. The recommendations will now be taken up by the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee before being sent to the full Senate.

Late last month, Gov. Tom Corbett announced his nomination of Fletman to fill a vacant judgeship on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Fletman was notified June 19 of her nomination.

If approved, she will join three other openly LGBT judges on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

— Angela Thomas

Drag show to benefit breast-cancer org.

On July 11, head out to The Empress Hotel in Asbury Park, N.J., for a special fundraising drag-show event. Twin Peaks for the Cure presents its third annual “Drag for the Cure,” featuring Miss Paradise Lea Sky.

Twin Peaks for the Cure is dedicated to helping individuals through their battles with breast cancer. Event proceeds go to supporting free mammograms and education for all — with their focus on the LGBT community.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30. Tickets are $10. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

— Matty Bennett