LGBT Recent Hate Crime Shakes Community

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by CoCo, Aug 10, 2004.

  1. CoCo

    CoCo ...is a Queer Don!! OT Supporter

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    Killing of Gay Teen Shakes Alabamians
    Critics say hate crime law should be expanded to include homosexuals.

    By JEFFRY SCOTT
    The Atlanta Journal
    08/08/04

    BAY MINETTE, Ala. — Anger creeps into the voice of Baldwin County District Attorney David Whetstone when he talks about the killing of Scotty Weaver, who was strangled and stabbed to death, then doused in gasoline and set afire.

    Robbery might have been one motive in the brutal slaying, said Whetstone, but the way the youth was killed, and why, were rooted in hate. Scotty Weaver, an 18-year-old, was homosexual.

    "This was a calculating, cold-blooded, savage murder — it wasn't a spur-of-the-moment murder," Whetstone said. The killing has raised calls for a revision of Alabama's hate crime law because it does not include crimes against homosexuals.

    Weaver was killed July 18 when he returned home from working the night shift as a cook at a Waffle House. Investigators believe he was attacked in the house trailer he shared with the three people who have been charged with murdering him. His body was carried to woods about eight miles away, where it was dumped and burned to disguise his identity.

    Authorities found Weaver's body four days later. Two days after that, they arrested his housemates. Christopher Ryan Gaines, 20; Nichole Kelsay, 18; and Robert Holly Lofton Porter, 18, have been charged with capital murder.

    The killing of Weaver has shocked Bay Minette, a conservative, blue-collar town of 7,800 about 30 miles northeast of Mobile, and sent shudders through a county that has quietly seen an influx of gays over the past decade, drawn to the Gulf Coast and artist enclaves along Mobile Bay.

    His death has galvanized gay rights activists in Alabama and elsewhere to push for stronger hate crimes laws and more vigorous enforcement.

    In Georgia, homosexuals are considered to be covered under a hate crime law passed in 2000, but that law is being challenged in the Georgia Supreme Court as being too vague.

    This week, Alabama state Rep. Alvin Holmes said he would introduce legislation in January to amend state law so that victims of sexual-orientation hate crimes also would be protected.

    Holmes likened the legislation to civil rights laws passed in the 1960s, when Alabama was on the violent edge of the civil rights movement and demonstrators advocating integration were attacked in Selma and Birmingham.

    "I'm a civil rights activist who has been in jail 27 times," said Holmes. "I've seen people shot, killed and lynched because they were black. That was wrong. And it's wrong to do this to an individual because he is gay."

    Mobile, a city of about 200,000, hosts an annual Gay Pride day. This year, for the first time, participants threw an impromptu parade downtown. But the city is still far less accepting of homosexuals than New Orleans and Atlanta, gay residents said.

    "There's a huge gay community down here — but it's not necessarily an "out" community" said Tony Thompson, 38, a board member with Mobile-based Bay Area Inclusion.

    The group operates a community center for gays and organized a candlelight vigil for Weaver last Sunday that was attended by about 200 people offering support and contributions toward Weaver's funeral expenses.

    Thompson said the gay community here is "outraged" by Weaver's death
    "and saddened by it." His slaying has also put many, including Thompson, on edge. "We're more aware of our surroundings now," he said.

    DA Whetstone said he will ask for the death penalty for "one or two" of the three defendants. Prosecuting the case as a hate crime would send a message, he said, but it would not make the punishment harsher. "In non-capital cases, hate crime prosecution just makes the minimum sentence longer," he said.

    In 1997, Whetstone's office investigated the burning of a black church in the small Baldwin County community of Little River that resulted in one of the nation's first federal hate crime convictions.

    Two people charged with murdering Weaver — Gaines and his girlfriend, Kelsay — had been friends with Weaver since childhood. Before they moved into the trailer home with Weaver, all three lived briefly with Weaver's mother in Bay Minette.

    Gaines' attorney, Rusty Pigott, said last week his client did not murder Weaver and he did not hate him. He said Porter was the instigator and the killer. Porter had an "aversion to homosexuals," Pigott said, and "had been known to brag about assaulting homosexuals."

    A few days before Weaver was killed, Pigott said, Gaines stopped Porter from physically assaulting Weaver. "Whatever my clients' involvement may have been," Pigott said, "it had absolutely nothing to do with robbery or the victim's sexual orientation."

    Porter's attorney, William Pfeifer, declined to comment on the case. He has asked a judge to impose a gag order against other attorneys and the district attorney until the next scheduled hearing, Aug. 27: "The other attorneys shouldn't be talking, either," said Pfeifer.

    Weaver's brother, Lum Weaver, 24, said he does not understand why anybody would want to harm his brother and especially why his two friends, Gaines and Kelsay, would suddenly turn against him.

    "He was the most generous person I know," he said. "He'd break his neck to give you the shirt off his back. He would have given his friends money if they just asked."

    Like his younger brother, Lum Weaver is openly gay. But Scotty was more flamboyant, he said. He liked to perform in drag shows, lip-syncing to Dolly Parton songs. Not long ago, Scotty finished second in a drag queen competition.

    "He loved to be onstage, and he loved to make people laugh," said Lum Weaver.

    Sometimes, he and his gay friends are harassed in Bay Minette, said Weaver, and they are afraid to go home: "They wake up in the middle of the night with drunks throwing beer bottles at their trailer," he said.

    Weaver said he's so numbed by his brother's brutal slaying, "I don't know what I feel." He wonders if it would make a difference if he stepped forward and spoke. Maybe something good could come from Scotty's death.

    He think the law needs to be changed: "A lot of us here in Bay Minette feel like Alabama needs to do something to protect us," he said.


    source=>
    http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/0804/09alabama.html
     
  2. Lord Barail

    Lord Barail Guest

    wow, thats sad, i hate hearing about that stuff...
     
  3. CoCo

    CoCo ...is a Queer Don!! OT Supporter

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  4. Konowl

    Konowl New Member

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    It's sickening. That's why I'm kinda glad I'm straight acting and have a large build - even when people know I'm gay they generally don't fuck with me. And I feel SO protective about my gay friends....

    When I was in Montreal a couple of weeks ago for Pride, we stopped at a McDonals at 3 AM for some post-alcohol food. We all went it, and the place was JAMMED with jocks. No problem for me, I thought... but of course the really gay ones that were with us had to start talking about this guys' boyfriend and this girls girlfriend... and I just hang my head and say "frig". They got lots of looks, but I just made sure I stared down the guys staring down my twink friends.

    On a side note, they ended up eating OUTSIDE because there was too much testosterone inside.... :rofl: . I had no problem eating inside, but it was getting kind of uncomfortable.... but the guys were so hot... :rant2:
     
  5. CoCo

    CoCo ...is a Queer Don!! OT Supporter

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    ...that's what makes life fun (lesbian's aside). :wiggle:
     

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