Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Gay Panic Murder of Homeless Disabled Man in Connecticut

Matthew O'Brien-Veader, on trial for the brutal murder of a homeless disabled man he believed made a sexual advance toward him.

Waterbury, Connecticut – Police officials say that a Waterbury man savagely murdered a homeless disabled man living in the same abandoned factory because of an alleged sexual advance.  Matthew O’Brien-Veader, 23, took shelter in the derelict warehouse along with his alleged victim, 39-year-old Joed Olivera, in June 2009.  During his sleep, O’Brien-Veader believed that the older disabled man attempted to have sex with him, and flew into a homophobic rage, according to the Republican American. Police arrested O’Brien-Veader June 12, 2009, and charged him with the grisly murder. He was bound over for trial in superior court, which finally began in Waterbury this week after a series of delays.

Court documents say that O’Brien-Veader attempted to throw Olivera down a flight of stairs, beat Olivera with his own pair of crutches until they shattered, and then repeatedly stabbed him with a dagger before throwing Olivera’s body through a jagged hole in the floor to the room below.  Others in the factory found Olivera’s body atop a jagged pile of junk, covered with a piece of plywood. One man who saw the mangled body of the homeless victim was so disturbed by the scene that he testified in in Waterbury Superior Court Tuesday to running out of the building and smoking marijuana to calm his nerves. O’Brien-Veader’s friend, Jason Benoit, testified that O’Brien-Veader had a deep aversion to LGBTQ people, and had told him that all gay people should be rounded up and dropped on a deserted island. According to the Hartford Courant, the defendant could receive a life sentence if found guilty.

O’Brien-Veader sat quietly beside his attorney as the case, postponed until over two years after the homicide, unfolded in the Waterbury courtroom. By invoking the gay panic defense, suggesting that the victim was responsible for his own murder, the defense hopes to cloud the minds of jurors enough to lighten the sentence, should their client be found guilty.  The recent King-McInerney gay killing in Oxnard, California gave the gay panic defense new life in American courts.  Defense attorneys for McInerney, a teen who confessed to the execution-style shooting of his teenaged gay classmate, Larry King, in front of a room full of witnesses, argued that unwanted sexual advances pushed McInerney to pull the trigger.  The ploy succeeded in reducing the conviction from murder to manslaughter.  O’Brien-Veader’s defense team is hoping that enough residual heterosexism and homophobia exists in jurors to bring a similar result for their client.

January 5, 2012 - Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, Connecticut, gay panic defense, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, LGBTQ, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, stabbings | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. This bastard deserves life without parole and nothing less!

    Comment by Mark | January 5, 2012

  2. This is so terrible. RIP, Joed. We demand JUSTICE!

    Comment by tgflux | January 5, 2012

  3. It sounds like a heat of the moment situation. If a man doesn’t want sexual advances, he shouldn’t have to except them. I hate being the devils advocate, but maybe the older guy pushed himself on the younger one who was seeking a place to rest. Not only that but if everyone was aware that he despised homosexuals, that is all the more reason of staying away from him. It sounds provoked to me.

    Comment by Kini Cosma | January 5, 2012

  4. “Provoked” is nothing but the “Gay Panic” Crap that has gotten murderers off scot free from their heinous crimes. Pushing a cripple down the stairs, beating him with his own crutch, then taking a dagger and stabbing him multiple times, then pushing his body through a jagged hole in the floor, then covering the body laying in a jagged pile of junk with a piece of plywood? Sounds slightly more than “Provoked” to me. This is a psycopath trying to walk free to murder others. A lot more than a “heat of the moment” plea. In the same class as the Matthew Shepard brutal fatal beating while tied to a fence was “heat of the moment” plea? This ugly critter needs to be put away for a long, long time, while he gets gang banged by horny inmates. Then maybe justice will be done.

    Comment by jerryball | January 5, 2012

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