Assailant in gay robbery seeks new trial

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Rasheem J. Drummond

Rasheem J. Drummond, convicted of hitting a gay man over the head with a gun in Harrisburg after they met through the dating app Grindr, has filed a petition with the State Supreme Court for a new trial. 

PGN is withholding the name of the victim, who couldn’t be reached for comment.

According to court records, Drummond and the victim established contact through Grindr and agreed to meet to see if they were sexually compatible. On Jan. 15, 2017, the victim met Drummond at a Rite-Aid store, and they both decided to go to the Hilton Hotel in downtown Harrisburg to have sex — with Drummond directing the victim on how to get there. 

When they arrived at the Hilton, Drummond asked the victim for $60 before they went inside — and the victim complied. Once inside, Drummond decided the hotel was too expensive and the two men left the premises.

The men got back into the victim’s car and drove to the Radisson Hotel in Camp Hill, to see if it was less expensive. They entered the Radisson, but Drummond told the victim that the hotel was too expensive. At that point, the victim asked that his $60 be returned, but Drummond only returned $30. Then the victim gave Drummond a ride home, to see if Drummond’s housemates were asleep and they could have sex there. Once Drummond and the victim arrived, Drummond promised to return the victim’s remaining $30. Then he walked to his residence while the victim sat in his car. When Drummond returned and reentered the victim’s vehicle, he pulled out a firearm and pointed it to the victim’s chest, demanding that the victim give him all of his money and his cell phone. The victim complied with Drummond’s command and gave him $100 plus his cell phone.

Drummond then exited the car and began running. The victim also exited the car, in an attempt to retrieve his cell phone, which he believed was necessary in order to make it

home and call for help. At some point during the victim’s chase of Drummond, he was able to reach him, and Drummond smacked the victim in the head with his firearm. Moments later, the victim regained his composure and began chasing after Drummond again and was able to see him run into a house. Once Drummond ran inside of the house, the victim began calling out for help. Eventually, someone saw the victim on the sidewalk and called police. When police arrived on the scene, the victim told them what occurred. Then police brought people out of the home that Drummond ran into, and the victim identified Drummond as his assailant.

Drummond was arrested by police and charged with one count of robbery and one count of carrying a firearm without a license. On April 24, 2018, Drummond’s jury trial began and he was subsequently convicted of both charges. Dauphin County Common Pleas Judge Deborah E. Curcillo sentenced Drummond to a minimum of seven years in a state prison.

Drummond filed a 57-page appeal for a new trial with the Pennsylvania Superior Court in April 2019. The Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office filed a 29-page response in May 2019, opposing a new trial for Drummond.

In November 2019, the state Superior Court sided with DA’s office and said there was no reason to have a new trial for Drummond.

In December 2019, Drummond filed a 72-page petition with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, asking the court to hear the case. Drummond’s petition claims there was insufficient evidence to convict him of the crimes he was charged with. Drummond’s petition refers to the evidence as “inconclusive” and “fraught with discrepancy.” The petition also claims that Drummond was denied proper legal representation and that the victim’s testimony was unreliable. For example, the victim said Drummond threatened him with a gun yet he still chased Drummond for his cell phone, according to the petition.

As of presstime, Drummond’s petition remained pending with the high court.

According to state Department of Corrections information, Drummond, 35, remains incarcerated at a state prison in LaBelle, Pennsylvania.  His appellate attorney couldn’t be reached for comment. A representative of the DA’s office declined to comment for this story.