Sabrina Powell recalls July 31, 2010, as “the worst night” of her life.
The then 32-year-old was awakened around 1 a.m. by the sound of a gunshot before a masked man pulled a blanket over her face while shouting, “Where’s the money?”
It was the night her fiance, 34-year-old Antwann Massey, was killed in what police say was a robbery over money the couple had been saving to move to California to help Massey pursue a music career.
It’s been more than two difficult years since the slaying inside their Suitland home, she said, but after a break in the case led to the arrest of a suspect, she and Massey’s family and friends are beginning to feel closure.
“He was holding his chest. I can remember myself repeating, ‘Oh my God,’ several times,” she recalled. “The police came, and Antwann was begging for help. The police took me to the second bedroom to question me. ... When they brought me out of the room, Antwann was gone. I didn’t get to say goodbye to my baby. I’m forever angry about that.”
Massey, known as rap artist Don Twizzi, was a music producer in Conglomerate Music Group LLC, an independent record label he founded in 2007 with family and friends.
To help finance his dream of traveling to Los Angeles to take their record label to a national scale, Massey began selling snacks out of his apartment, leading Prince George’s County police to determine robbery was the motive in the case, police said.
At the beginning of March, police announced two men — Jeffrey Allen Cutler, 26, of Capitol Heights and Houston Donald Washington, 27, of Washington, D.C. — were charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors dismissed the case against Washington a month later because they did not have enough evidence to take him to trial, said John Erzen, spokesman for the county prosecutor.
Cutler, being held in the county’s Department of Corrections, is awaiting an April 26 trial.
Residence phone numbers for Cutler and Washington could not be located.
Defense attorney Peter Fayne said Cutler maintains his innocence. Fayne said Cutler was at the scene when the incident took place and was shot by the robbers.
“It’s a terrible tragedy that we have two victims here. Not only was one person murdered but another innocent man was wrongfully charged,” he said. “He was wrongfully charged and unfortunately we’ll have to go to trial to prove that.”
Fayne declined to comment about why Cutler was at the scene and about his relationship to Massey.
Powell was never suspected in the killing, according to police, though she said some of Massey’s family members pointed to her as the reason for his death since she was with him.
“In the beginning, I was accused by his family and friends of setting him up. They attacked my Facebook page with messages of hate. In the end, it made me a bitter person,” she said. “I reached an all-time low when Antwann passed. The only thing I can live for is making sure his killers are brought to justice.”
Massey’s uncle, Quentin Bullock, 42, of Washington, D.C., said when the incident happened, some family members were looking to point blame at someone or something, noting the difficulty of losing a loved one without there being any answers.
“When things happened, emotions were high, and it caused a little friction. With time, things have calmed down. It’s still a rebuilding process. The love is there, but there’s still a lot of hurt right now,” he said. “I believe getting some answers and finding out who did this will honestly help to get some closure.”
Massey grew up in Washington and moved to Suitland about six months before he was killed, according to family members, who said Massey had been performing in shows along the East Coast. Family members said the man “who would give you the shirt off his back” just made a branding agreement with a West Coast record label.
Bullock said the deal would have pushed the company toward national recognition. He and other members of Conglomerate said Massey’s death has been a major setback to the music group with some members still “shell shocked” and hesitant to produce music and perform.
Joseph Jackson, 40, of Temple Hills said he worked with Massey’s music company as a rap artist and comedian known as “Comedian Joe Jack.” He said he has known Massey since they were children.
“[The arrest] is improving things for the family, giving them some closure,” he said, noting that some family and friends initially thought to retaliate but reconsidered. “The cycle of violence has to stop.”