Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Decorated Sailor Charged with the Murder of Gay Sailor August Provost

August Provost pic on his MySpace page

August Provost pic on his MySpace page

San Diego, CA – The U.S. Navy says that a decorated petty officer has been charged with murder and other offenses in the June 30 slaying of gay Seaman August Provost at Camp Pendleton, California.  Jonathan Campos, 32, has been in military custody since July 1, when the smoldering remains of Seaman Provost were found inside the guard shack where he stood sentry on the night of his murder.  Campos, a Lancaster, CA native, enlisted in the Navy in 2001.  He is a military fuel-system technician who had received numerous decorations, including the Good Conduct Medal.  He has been charged with murder and arson, as well as charges of wrongful possession of a firearm, unlawful entry to a military base, carrying a concealed weapon and stealing military property.  Forensic evidence shows that Provost was shot multiple times with a .45 calibre pistol.  The sentry shack was then torched with Provost’s body inside in order to destroy evidence of the crime.  The Navy continues to deny that the victim was killed because of his sexual orientation.  Instead, naval investigators for NCIS contend that Provost surprised Campos as he was seeking to gain entry to the anchorage where hovercraft were docked in order to set one of them afire, and that Campos shot Provost at that time.  Provost’s family and friends, along with gay rights activists, believe that his sexual orientation played a factor in the murder.  His aunt has told the press that her nephew complained to her about being repeatedly harassed for his homosexuality, and that he had one prime antagonist on base at Camp Pendleton.  Though it is not known whether Campos is that antagonist, both he and Provost served in the same unit, Assault Craft 5.  Ben Gomez, head of the San Diego chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights, a national LGBT servicemembers organization, said to San Diego 6 that he and other LGBT activists believe Seaman Provost’s murder was a hate crime.  They contend that he was killed after having an argument about his sexuality with an antagonist on base.  They do not find the Navy’s claim credible that Provost was a “random” victim.  While the Navy largely bases their claim that sexual orientation did not play a part in Provost’s murder since he had never filed a complaint with his superiors about being harassed for being gay, family and the LGBT community counter that he could not have felt safe approaching his commanders at Camp Pendleton because of the threat posed to his continuing military service because of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT).  Members of the U.S. House of Representatives from California and Provost’s native Texas are calling for a full investigation into the case.

July 23, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Arson, California, DADT, gay men, gun violence, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, immolation, military, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Texas, U.S. Navy | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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