Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

López Mercado Murder To Be Treated as Anti-LGBT Hate Crime Killing

San Juan, Puerto Rico – A federal prosecutor in San Juan has announced that her office is continually monitoring the investigation of the horrific torture-murder of Jorge Steven López Mercado, and promised that she will bring hate crimes charges in the event that Puerto Rican authorities do not.  The EDGE reports that United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez told the Puerto Rican press she was prepared to lodge anti-LGBT hate crimes charges against Juan A. Martínez Matos, the self-confessed killer of the 19-year-old out gay youth.  If she carries through, this will be the first prosecution under the provisions of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act since it was signed into law by President Barack Obama in October.  Martínez Matos, 26, allegedly decapitated, dismembered, and attempted to immolate López Mercado, dumping his remains on a lonely stretch of road outside Cayey on November 13.  As an excuse for his crime, the alleged killer has claimed that he was surprised to find out that the youth, who was dressed as a female, was actually a gay person.  Believing that Puerto Rican attitudes are still conservative enough to credit some form of the well-worn “gay panic” defense, Martínez Matos says that previous bad encounters with a gay man in his youth caused him to explode with rage.  A judge has ruled that Martínez Matos must undergo psychological evaluation to establish that he is mentally healthy enough to stand trial.  Local LGBT activists have decried the ruling, but are welcoming the announcement of the United States Attorney that hate crime charges may be brought in this case.  Pedro Julio Serrano said to the EDGE, “We are satisfied that the federal authorities are monitoring this case and that they’re respecting the work that the local authorities are doing.  We are all vigilant to this process and we won’t rest until justice is served. This was a horrible hate crime and Puerto Rico needs to send a powerful message to the world that we do not tolerate homophobia in any of its ugly forms.”

December 15, 2009 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Blame the victim, Decapitation and dismemberment, gay men, gay panic defense, gay teens, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, immolation, Law and Order, Legislation, Matthew Shepard Act, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Puerto Rico, Torture and Mutilation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bad Hombres: Arrests in Possible Anti-LGBT Violence in West Texas

Brewster County, TX – Two men have been arrested and charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 19-year-old man in Terlingua, Texas on Sunday, December 6 in what is unfolding into a possible anti-gay hate crime story. While the sexual orientation of the victim remains officially undisclosed, local sources allege that the teenager is gay.  Daniel Martinez, 46, has been charged with sexual assault and is being held on $35,000 bond. Kristopher Buchanan, 27, is being held on outstanding warrants from other counties. The suspects are expected to face additional charges.  Pink News summarizes reports from Texas saying that the victim ,whose name has not been released by law enforcement, was abducted outside a bar in Terlingua, a town on the Texas-Mexico Border, and driven in his own car to a remote area in southern Brewster County.  The Big Bend Gazette reports that the youth was sexually assaulted by the pair before his car was set afire.  He was forced into a private residence where his attackers sexually assaulted him again.  He managed to escape, running three miles across the desert to a highway where a Brewster County Sheriff’s Deputy spotted him and took him to a hospital for treatment.  Officials say that the victim is currently recovering in an undisclosed location.  Law enforcement has been tight-lipped about the crime, but both local and LGBT press have speculated that the assault was an anti-gay hate crime.  Some have gone so far as to equate the attack with the fatal pistol-whipping of hate crime victim Matthew Shepard.  When questioned about the investigation, Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson told reporters that the case is being treated as a kidnapping, sexual assault and auto arson. “Everybody’s in jail,” said Dodson. “That’s the best part.”  A rally was held last night in support of the victim.

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Arson, gay teens, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Kidnapping and sexual assault, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Matthew Shepard, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Protests and Demonstrations, rape, Texas, Vigils | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


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