Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Hate Crime Enhancement Ruled Out in Duncanson Verdict


Roberto “Pancho” Duncanson

1987 – May 12, 2007

Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York


Terence at www.republicoft.com expresses outrage that Roberto Duncanson’s murder was not classified or prosecuted as an anti-gay hate crime.  I share the outrage, T.  If his stabbing death was not about hate, then what was it about?

Roberto Duncanson, nicknamed “Pancho,” worked at a local CVS Drug Store in Chelsea, NY.  He had planned to vacation in Miami for his 21st birthday, and afterwards to start school to become an x-ray tech.  He was a gay African American. 

On the night of May 12, 2007, he had a run-in with Omar Willock, 17, who became enraged with Duncanson, claiming that he had flirted with him.  All Willock could point to was the way he said Duncanson “looked” at him.  Willock followed Duncanson down St. Mark’s Avenue, Crown Heights, shouting anti-gay slurs at him. 

Duncanson walked away.  He intended to visit a cousin on Brooklyn Avenue.  Willock wouldn’t let it go.  He kept verbally attacking Duncanson, and then started a fistfight with him.  Duncanson defended himself.  According to eye-witness testimony from his cousin, Jeimar Brown, after he and two girls pulled the two men apart, Willock had used a knife on his victim, having stabbed him four times.  Willock ran from the scene.  Duncanson collapsed on the sidewalk, striking his head on a street sign, bleeding profusely.  He died an hour later at Kings County Hospital. 

Willock was arrested after being picked out of a police lineup.  His trial for the murder of Roberto Duncanson began March 11, 2009.  On March 12, the judge in the trial tossed out the hate crime charge, which would have increased the minimum sentence in the case of conviction.  He told the court that the DA had not sufficiently substantiated the hate crime nature of the murder.  Willock was found guilty and sentenced from 15 years to life.  Customarily, less than 25 years of such a sentence is served. 

Willock dogged Duncanson again and again, verbally assaulting him with ugly, anti-gay epithets, provoked a fight, and then wielded his knife to stab and kill the person whose life he loathed.  Hate crime?  Hell, yes!  What else would any reasonable person call it?


        ~ Stephen V. Sprinkle, Director of the Unfinished Lives Project

March 20, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, gay men, harassment, Hate Crimes, Law and Order, New York, Slurs and epithets, stabbings

1 Comment

  1. Hey Berto its bread… I miss you so much its crazy you not being here you know i had a lil boy last year Feb, I always say you sent him to me and I thank you. Every time I pass the block I just feel empty inside but I know you are in a better place watching ova us.I know u good up there but i just wish you were here with us, me and mel mel always talk about what popped off on your birthday on th train that shit was crazy….lol, but we had fun….lol well baby we will meet again till then I will always miss you

    Love Bread

    Comment by bread23 | March 25, 2009

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