Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Ryan Skipper’s Killer Sentenced to 2 Life Terms

William "Bill Bill" Brown at sentencing, Ledger photo

Bartow, Florida – Circuit Judge Michael Hunter sentenced William “Bill Bill” Brown, 23, to life without parole for first-degree murder, and gave him a second life sentence for armed robbery with a deadly weapon for his part in the horrific murder of Ryan Keith Skipper in March 2007, according to The Ledger.  The judge also imposed a 15-year sentence for arson, and an additional five years for tampering with evidence.  Eye witnesses in the courtroom say that Brown smiled ruefully as his fingerprints were taken prior to jailing him for the rest of his life.  Ryan Keith Skipper’s stabbed and slashed body was found on a lonely roadside in Wahneta, Florida at approximately 1 a.m. on March 14, 2007.  The Polk County Medical Examiner reported to the court that Skipper had been cut and stabbed a total of 19 times, and died of blood loss at the scene.  Police later discovered Skipper’s powder blue Chevrolet Aveo partially burned at at boat ramp on Lake Pansy.  Brown admitted to investigators that he was in Skipper’s car on the day of the murder, but claimed that he “blacked out” at the time of the attack, and couldn’t remember anything about it.  Brown and Joseph “Smiley” Bearden were arrested and charged with the murder by Polk County Sheriff’s Officers.  Bearden was sentenced to life without parole for his role in Skipper’s murder earlier this year.  Pat Mulder told Ledger reporters that she was relieved that the trial and sentencing were finally over, but that Brown probably will never know the gravity of what he did to her and the family. “He stole my heart when he killed my son,” she said.  The prosecutors in the case contended that the killing was a hate crime because the two men targeted Skipper particularly for his sexual orientation, believing young gay men to be easy marks.  Witnesses during Bearden’s trial testified that the assailants believed they were doing the world a service by ridding the world of another “faggot.”  Though the prosecution never formally charged Brown or Bearden with an anti-gay hate crime, opting instead for a capital murder case and the death penalty, Skipper’s parents urged that the death penalty be waived so that the trials could proceed.  The Mulders and Ryan’s elder brother, Damian, have gone on to become the most persuasive advocates for LGBT equality in Florida, and among the most respected social justice advocates in the nation.

December 2, 2009 - Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Florida, gay men, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, stabbings | , , , , , , , , , ,

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