Man pleads not guilty in murder of LGBT activist

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The 33-year-old Henry County man accused of strangling and stabbing to death an LGBT activist in her East Atlanta home appeared in court on Wednesday, pleading not guilty to a crime spree that prosecutors say includes two murders.

Donte Lamar Wyatt entered a not guilty plea during an arraignment in DeKalb County Superior Court on Wednesday, some five months after he allegedly attacked his ex-wife, killed Catherine Han Montoya and then, once in jail, killed his cellmate. 

Via the AJC:

Shackles clanging, Donte Lamar Wyatt was led into the DeKalb County courtroom long after the other incarcerated defendants scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday morning. He slouched on the wooden bench, arms crossed in front, and a smirk emerged behind his unkempt beard.

Eyes bulging, he glanced at the gathered media members, and at the friends and families of his alleged victims.

His attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Wyatt faces 14 felonies, including two counts of malice murder, two counts of felony murder and four counts of aggravated assault. He is accused of attacking his ex-wife in a Waffle House parking on April 13 and then fleeing, somehow ending up at Montoya's home on Shadowridge Drive. 

Via AJC:

According to indictments, Wyatt beat Montoya and attacked her with a knife before strangling her with a scarf. He drove off in her car and holed up in another house about a mile away. He was eventually apprehended after a SWAT team used tear gas.

On July 4, prosecutors say Wyatt strangled his cellmate, Jah'Corey Tyson, and removed his eyeballs at the DeKalb County Jail.

“It is terrible, tragic and disturbing these allegations. I just feel for the families,” DeKalb District Attorney Robert James told WSB after Wyatt's plea.

Montoya worked as a senior field manager for the Leadership on Civil & Human Rights and the leadership Conference Education Fund from 2008-2012. Friends and co-workers praised the LGBT activist as “a vibrant champion for social justice.” She described herself as a “Queer Chicana Korean Feminist (and Broncos fan).”

Montoya's funeral was held April 19. Her wife is expecting the birth of the couple's child in October, according to friends. A You Caring fundraising campaign received $62,373 in donations in the wake of Montoya's death to help with family expenses.


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