Police in California announced they have arrested a university janitor in the murder of a local drag queen, barber, and member of the Oakland Gay Men’s Chorus.
Curtis Marsh, 53, was found stabbed to death in his burning Oakland apartment near Lake Merritt on Saturday, March 4. Marsh was a popular member of the Oakland Gay Men’s Chorus who also performed as a drag queen under the stage name Touri Monroe.
On Friday, Oakland Police Department (OPD) announced the arrest of Sweven Waterman, 38, and the Alameda District Attorney later charged him with Marsh’s murder. Waterman had worked as a senior custodian with the University of California Berkeley’s Housing & Dining Services since August 2022.
According to court documents, police responded to a report of smoke and a man screaming for help coming from Marsh’s apartment shortly after 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 4. The Oakland Fire Department was already on the scene and dealing with multiple fires inside the apartment when police arrived. Marsh was found nonresponsive and suffering from multiple stab wounds and trauma. He was pronounced dead at the scene by police.
“I heard screams, ‘help, help.’ I got up,” a neighbor who requested anonymity told local tv station KTVU. “My neighbor on the 4th floor was screaming and hollering that Curtis was dead. I was able to view his body. He was laying on his balcony bloodied.”
Investigators quickly identified Waterman as a suspect using surveillance video, electronic data, and witness statements. With the assistance of the University of California Police Department, officers from OPD arrested Waterman last Thursday afternoon at a UC Berkeley residence hall.
Marsh was described by friends as loving, gifted, and gracious.
“He was very sweet, very funny,” Steven Smith, who sang with Marsh in Oakland Gay Men’s Chorus, told KTVU. “He was an accomplished musician. Beautiful, beautiful voice.”