Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Phoenix Transperson’s Murder Still Unsolved After Four Years

Phoenix, AZ – Maurice Dupree Green, known by friends in a gay support group as Melissa, was 22 when she was fatally shot in the back on the night of March 21, 2006.  Now, four years since the brutal shooting, Green’s murderer remains at large with no promising leads.  A candlelight vigil marking the anniversary of Green’s death was held Sunday in Phoenix, according to reports from ABC 15.  When interviewed by a reporter for ABC, Arizona TransAlliance Co-Chair Erica Keppler said that Green’s murder highlighted the fear trans youth and adults face every day in the Grand Canyon State: “I want to move through the world as a citizen and feel safe like anybody else does, but I can never know that I’m safe,” she said.  “I can never know that when I walk through a parking lot that I could be at risk of violence, of someone attacking me.”  Green was in transition from male to female.  According to a report filed near the date of her shooting, Melissa Green was wearing a long brown wig and women’s clothing as she walked alone in the neighborhood of an adult bookstore she sometimes frequented.  AZCentral.com reported that a man approached her from behind and fired a single shot into her back with no warning just after midnight.  She bled to death on the sidewalk before paramedics could reach her.  Police were originally reluctant to label Green’s murder a hate crime, but members of the Arizona trans community, local politicians like openly gay Phoenix City Councilman Tom Simplot, and her youth support group friends have no doubt that hatred of LGBT people motivated the shooter.  Simplot, who donated a considerable sum of money back in 2006 to reward anyone identifying the killer, comes to honor Green every year, and believes the annual vigil is important for youth in metro Phoenix.  “This vigil every year is to tell our youth that the community does care about them, that we care what happens to them when they get kicked out of the house just for being gay,” Simplot said to ABC 15.  Since the murder, Green’s mother Ceda has been inconsolable.  She spoke to reporters at a previous vigil, confessing that her life could never be the same after the death of her child.  Each year, vigil supporters hope that renewed interest in Green and the trans youth of Arizona will prompt someone to come forward with information leading to an arrest.  Until then, the tenacious citizens of Phoenix will remember Melissa Green’s untimely, violent death, and work to improve the lot of the living.

March 23, 2010 - Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Arizona, gay men, gun violence, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Social Justice Advocacy, transgender persons, transphobia, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, Vigils | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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