Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Another Delay in Notorious Dallas Gay Dismemberment Trial

Seth Winder, charged with the dismemberment of gay Latino, Richard Hernandez

Dallas, Texas – The first-degree murder trial of Seth Winder, charged with the grisly dismemberment of openly gay Dallasite, Richard Hernandez, has been postponed for another four months, according to reports received from the Dallas Voice. Winder was finally to stand trial on January 24 for the September 2008 slaying of the gentle, well-liked Hernandez, a resident of North Dallas who worked as an Associate for Wal-mart. The Denton County District Attorney’s Office announced the delay of trial until May 23, in response to the petition of Winder’s defense attorney, Derek Adame. This postponement of the trial date puts the commencement of justice for Richard Hernandez to a full two-and-a-half years since the visceral organs of the victim were discovered in his apartment bathtub.  The Voice notes that the May trial date itself is considerably in doubt at this point.  The events following the arrest of Seth Winder for the murder of Hernandez are a case study in the muting of a Latino gay murder in the Southwest. The forensic details of the crime are gruesome in the extreme. Though the sensational aspects of a dismemberment seem to lend themselves to media and LGBTQ community attention, a strange pall has fallen over this story for years. Dallas-Fort Worth television and radio news are filled with regular stories of mayhem, yet this bloody, outrageous crime has received relatively little attention in local media, with the exception of coverage by the Dallas Voice. Controversy has dogged this story since its inception. Winder, arrested with blood-stained evidence in his possession, has been variously described as mentally disabled and homicidal, even by his own family. Winder’s father’s girlfriend, Karen Dilbeck, threw a spanner in the works by authoring and publishing a book-length account of the crime and a pastiche of her husband’s mental state at the time of the murder. Because of a spate of publicity that might have affected a trial, justice was postponed in the wake of the book’s publication. Psychological experts have pronounced on Winder’s capacity to understand right and wrong, and his ability to stand trial for the murder. Friends of Hernandez have repeatedly called on officials to bring the case to a speedy trial, contending that Winder knew what he was doing when he allegedly cut his victim to pieces. A&E’s The First 48 attempted to revive interest in the story, but failed. Today’s news of yet another postponement works to dampen the community awareness of the story further. Gay men who habituate the Oaklawn-Cedar Springs entertainment district where the gay community of Dallas congregates seem to have no recognition of the name of Richard Hernandez or the heinous murder that has been likened to Richard Harris’s “Hannibal the Cannibal” best-seller and major motion picture, The Silence of the Lambs. Why such little interest or knowledge of the crime exists in Dallas in 2011 is cause for major concern. This is the hallmark of a gay hate crime being covered over by community neglect and denial, especially when the victim is non-White and past the Twink stage. In the end, the LGBTQ community has the responsibility for keeping the memory of Richard Hernandez alive both so that justice may be finally rendered in this terrible case, and also for the sake of the Dallas LGBTQ community’s social identity.  It is sadly no surprise that major media such as Belo Corporation’s newspaper and television station de-emphasize the plight of gay and lesbian Texans due to hate crimes.  They have been doing so for generations. But the local queer community, with the happy exception of the Dallas Voice, has dropped the ball for a series of reasons community leaders would do well to understand and counteract, if the LGBTQ voices in Dallas and North Texas are ever to be taken seriously by a neglectful heterosexist majority in this city and county.  Meanwhile, the justice Richard Hernandez’s friends seek is deferred.  And justice deferred is justice denied.

January 11, 2011 - Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Decapitation and dismemberment, desecration of corpses, Evisceration, gay men, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Latinos, Law and Order, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, stabbings, Texas | , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. Straight allies simply must advocate and educate on behalf of the LGBT community. This struggle is being waged on many fronts by many participants. Thanks for your work, Dr. Sprinkle.

    Comment by Ronald Goetz | January 12, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks, Ronald! Without Straight Allies, we LGBTQ folk are pretty cold and lonely! Together, we can make a real difference.

      Comment by unfinishedlives | January 12, 2011 | Reply

  2. This is honestly the first I’ve heard about this heinous murder and impending trial. Upon reading the descriptor, I thought it was related to the murder of the Latino guy from the El Fenix franchise family/ownership.

    Where can I locate information on the basic accounts of what occurred that night and any available perceived notions regarding the killer’s motive?

    I can see why the local Gay Mafia likely fought any major media attention on this tragedy – it would have created a lingering stigmatism though would have been beyond their control to eradicate. Nonetheless, the victim deserves justice.

    Comment by John Deaux | August 28, 2011 | Reply

  3. The trial has been reset o Nov. 14, 2011

    Comment by Rod | September 23, 2011 | Reply

  4. Get your facts straight. Seth Winder and Richard Hernandez were involved in a sexual relationship. Part of the evidence in this case are home movies filmed by Richard Hernandez of him performing sex acts with Seth Winder. Seth Winder was a young hiv positive homeless man with paranoid schizophrenia that became close friends with Richard Hernandez and they also shared an open sexual relationship. This was not a hate crime but the result of Seth Winder not having the right psychiatric treatment and medication.

    Comment by joey | January 17, 2012 | Reply

  5. I was Richard Hernandez’s boyfriend in the 1990’s for over a year. He was a good and gentle man who certainly did not deserve to die in such a horrific way. He was loyal, loving and kind and deserved better than the rushed investigation the Dallas Police gave his murder case. Shame on the investigators and the legal system that treated a gay man with so much dishonor. D. Austin

    Comment by D. Austin | May 3, 2014 | Reply


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