Tenant’s death leads to lawsuit, stops sale of DC home

The death of a tenant living in a basement apartment in Northwest D.C. has led to a lawsuit, putting the sale of the property on hold.

The family of 76-year-old Luther Brooks has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming a handyman brutally beat and killed the military veteran in his home, weeks before the property sale closed.

Brooks rented the basement apartment of the home which is along Kalmia Road in the Shepherd’s Park neighborhood.

“He was really deepening his relationship with his children and his family,” Luther’s son, Diallo Brooks told NBC Washington.

“This didn’t have to happen.”

Brooks said he received a call from his father’s landlord, Valerie Mann on September 27.

Brooks said Mann told him that his father was found by the handyman, 57-year-old Clifton Browne, badly injured after a severe fall.

The medical examiner report concluded that Brooks was beaten.

The incident allegedly happened after Mann complained to Browne that her tenant wouldn’t move out.

“It’s very unfortunate that Luther has lost his life. It’s a nightmare. I had no intention of him being harmed. I took him in when he was homeless, furnished the apartment, and helped him find work. I saw him as a success story. I’m grieving too,” Mann told NBC Washington.

Attorney Richard Evans was able to stop the property from closing a day before the scheduled date, telling NBC Washington

“We were able to secure protection of the asset for what we believe will be a recovery for the Brooks family,” Evans said.

Browne is facing a charge of second degree murder.

NBC Washington contributed to this report. 

Watch video from our partners at NBC Washington.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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