Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Guilty!: Second Defendant in Ryan Skipper Hate Murder Case


William D. Brown on the way to jail

Bartow, FL – William D. “Bill Bill” Brown has been found guilty of first degree murder and burglary with a deadly weapon today by a jury in the Polk County, FL, county seat.  Skipper was slashed and stabbed to death in March of 2007 on a lonely, rural road in Wahneta, FL.  A woman who discovered his body beside the road ditch said that it seemed to her that someone had turned on “a sprinkler of blood.”  The 25-year-old college student had been stabbed with knives 19 times, according to the Polk County Medical Examiners Office, causing him to die of blood loss and trauma.  His murderers attempted to fence his automobile after trying in vain to remove blood from the interior of the vehicle.  Unable to find a buyer, they set the car afire at a boat ramp in Auburndale, but frustrated their own attempt by shutting the doors after kindling the blaze.  In a personal communication Lynn Mulder, Ryan Skipper’s step father, said, “William Brown was convicted today of first degree murder, burglary with a deadly weapon and he confessed his guilt in arson and tampering with evidence. Responsibility and accountability has been established and protection for society will occur on 1 Dec when he will be sentenced to life in prison without parole.”  More will be forthcoming from Ryan’s parents and friends as statements to the press outside the Bartow Courthouse become public.  Brown, who elected not to testify in the trial, contended in a pre-trial confession in 2007 that he had “blacked out” and could not remember if or how Ryan Skipper died.  Witnesses reported that he and his accomplice, Joseph “Smiley” Bearden, said they wanted “to rid the world of one more faggot.”  The Skipper case suffered in the media because of the irresponsibility of Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, who merely repeated the defendants’ unsupported allegations concerning Skipper’s character and activities.  Judd prejudiced the media against Skipper, painting the victim as a person who in some way deserved his fate.  Though each unsupported claim made by the Sheriff’s Department has been systematically debunked, and the public communications director for the county has declared Skipper guiltless of any wrongdoing in any of these particulars, Sheriff Judd himself has never explained or apologized to the public or to Skipper’s parents and friends.  In February of this year, Bearden was found guilty on all counts, and was sentenced to life without parole.  As Mulder has suggested, Brown’s sentence is expected to be similar.  For further information and developments in this case, see the Ryan Skipper Documentary web site, and One Orlando.

November 3, 2009 - Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Blame the victim, Florida, gay men, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Media Issues, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Politics, Slurs and epithets, stabbings | , , , , , , , , ,

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