Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Lesbian Lover and Mom Shot Dead by Girlfriend’s Enraged Father

Lesbian murder victim, Norma Hurtado

Austin, Texas – A lesbian and her mother were gunned down in Southeast Austin Monday evening by a teenager’s father, furious over his daughter’s queer relationship.  Norma Hurtado, 24, and her mother, Maria Hurtado, 57, were shot to death in their home, while Norma’s 18-year-old lover, the gunman’s daughter, was in the back of the house.  José Alfonso Aviles, 45, and an unidentified second man, allegedly knocked on the door of the Austin residence in the 7100 block of Dixie Drive, and when the Hurtados answered the door, Aviles opened fire.  Witnesses told police they saw two men flee the scene in a Nissan. Both Norma and Maria were killed in the hail of bullets. Aviles was apprehended in the St. Hedwig section of San Antonio on Tuesday where he surrendered to officers of the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force.  An investigation of a green Nissan turned up a pistol thought to be the murder weapon. Aviles has been charged with capital murder and is being held in the Bexar County Jail without bond.  Details of the murder are slowly coming to light as the investigation proceeds. Norma Hurtado and the Aviles girl (whose name is not being released ostensibly because of her age) had been in a dating relationship for several months, much to the chagrin of Aviles.  According to an arrest affidavit made available to KVUE News, witnesses testified to police that Aviles had threatened Norma Hurtado and her family over the lesbian relationship. Lt. Gena Davis of the Austin Police Department told KVUE, “We do know that the father had threatened harm toward Norma previously. This has been a dispute between these two individuals and subsequently we have suffered a horrific act of violence in our community.”

The Dallas Voice broke the story in North Texas.  The Austin Police have not classified this case as a hate crime. Reporter John Wright opined that though Austin has a lesbian District Attorney, she is unlikely to pursue a hate crime angle in the double homicide.  Although Texas has a hate crime statute on the books that lists “sexual preference” as a protected class, it offers no sentence enhancement in cases of capital murder.  Texas is notorious for leaving its gay/lesbian hate crimes law uninvoked in seemingly obvious cases of homophobia such as this one.  Texas D.A.’s reason that the hate crimes law raises the bar of proof, burdening a prosecutor who is likely going for the death penalty anyway. An attempt is being made to tamp down the story, reminiscent of other LGBTQ hate crimes investigations where the authorities want to minimize the sexual orientation motive for a murder that otherwise bears all the classic marks of an anti-lesbian honor killing.  Your News Now (YNN) reports APD’s Lt. Davis as saying, “This was a very isolated incident. There is no fear to the community.” Austin, long considered “safe” for LGBTQ people, has in recent months experienced a spate of anti-gay and lesbian violence, including attacks on gay softball players and on gay community leaders outside popular gay bars. The nature of murder aimed at lesbians and gay men by straight killers may seem “isolated” as the police wish to portray it, but the brutality, rage, and callousness of the crimes bespeak a message to the whole LGBTQ community of Travis County and Central Texas. The Unfinished Lives Project Team would be very surprised if lesbians and gay men in Austin are buying the line the APD is trying to sell them.  Austin is no longer safe and secure for its LGBTQ population.

April 20, 2011 - Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Austin Police Department, death threats, gay teens, gun violence, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, home-invasion, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Legislation, Lesbian women, multiple homicide, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Texas, women | , , , , , , , , , ,

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