Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

New Yorker Murders Boy Toddler “For Acting Like a Girl”

Pedro Jones, alleged infant killer, heads to court

Shinnecock Indian Reservation, outside Riverside, Long Island – A 20-year-old Southampton man is accused of killing his girlfriend’s toddler on August 1, 2010.  Pedro Jones, who was babysitting the 17-month-old tot, allegedly grabbed him by the neck and punched him repeatedly with his closed fist “to toughen him up,” the batterer said, in order to make the child “act like a boy and not a girl.” Roy Antonio Jones III, the victim (no relation to his assailant though they share the same surname), went into cardiac arrest and died as a result of his injuries late on Sunday evening. His mother, Vanessa Jones, had left her child in the care of her boyfriend to visit her cousin for about an hour, according to family sources.  Ms. Jones said that she had no knowledge that her lover had ever hit the baby before. Jones has been charged with first-degree manslaughter in the slaying, a charge that carries a maximum of 25 years in prison. He has pled not guilty to the charge, and is being held in Suffolk County Jail without bail.  NewsOneOriginal reports that Pedro Jones told police he had never hit the toddler “that hard before.”  “A one-time mistake and I am going to do 20 years,” he said.  Jones is not a member of the Shinnecock Nation as is the infant’s mother, whom the alleged killer said he intended to marry.  Her family hopes that Jones will receive a much harsher sentence than incarceration for 20 years.  The grandmother of the dead child confronted Jones who was in custody at Southampton Town Court, and shouted at him, “You killed my grandson! I hope you rot in hell!”  On Monday night, August 2, approximately 100 members of the Shinnecock Nation gathered to mourn the killing of the infant.  “People expressed the need to come together to love one another, to tighten the gap in our community so this doesn’t happen again,” Ms. Donna Collins-Smith, the great aunt of the victim, said to The Southampton Press. “Basically, we’re trying to come together as a family and do the best we can.”  The horror of this killing has shocked many around the nation.  Jones was apparently so irrationally irritated by behavior patterns in the tot he believed were effeminate that he took matters into his own hands to beat the girlishness out of him.  Because the victim was perceived to be gender-variant, the attack was a sexual hate crime according to many commentators. Michael Rowe wrote for the Huffington Post: “The beating death of 17-month-old Roy Jones was no less a hate crime because the victim was a baby. Whether he would have grown up to be gay, or transgender, or just a gentle, sweet-natured straight boy, was still many years away. More, it was irrelevant.”  As the Unfinished Lives Project has reported repeatedly, violent crimes against gender non-conforming people of color, especially young boys of color who present femininely, have reached alarming levels in our country. They are  among the most vulnerable members of our society, and are paying a terrible price for the irrational hatred of men (and some women!) who feel they must use violence to enforce heterosexist male stereotypes.  Baby Roy will never have a chance to show the world who he was becoming. Instead of making him socially acceptable in a hyper-masculine world, the man who said he loved the child, “loved” him to death.

August 12, 2010 - Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Mistaken as LGBT, Native Americans, New York, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, transgender persons, transphobia, Uncategorized, Vigils, women | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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