Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Gay Hate Crimes Victim Ryan Keith Skipper Lives On: A Special Comment

Ryan Keith Skipper (April 28, 1981 - March 14, 2007)

Wahneta, Florida – Today would have been Ryan Keith Skipper’s 31st birthday, had he not died at the hands of two reckless, homophobic men in Central Florida five years ago.  But Ryan lives on in the hearts and minds of his family, his friends, and countless supporters of human rights who commemorate his life and the lives of other hate crimes murder victims around the nation.

Ryan’s murderers are both sentenced to life in prison for their crimes.  William David “Bill-Bill” Brown Jr. and Joseph “Smiley” Bearden killed Ryan on the night of March 14, 2007 in cold blood, stole his car, and vainly attempted to fence it before desperately trying to burn it up in order to destroy evidence of the murder.  The Sheriff of Polk County, Grady Judd, capitalized on Ryan’s murder politically, and crassly blamed Ryan for his own death.  Sheriff Judd, as of this writing, still holds office, though every one of his innuendoes and allegations concerning Ryan have been categorically disproved.

In the five years since Ryan’s untimely death, his parents, Pat and Lynn Mulder, his brother Damien, and his host of friends have gotten on with their lives, dealing with their grief the best they can.  His family has become one of the foremost voices for justice for hate crimes victims in the nation.  A major documentary film, “Accessory to Murder: Our Culture’s Complicity in the Death of Ryan Skipper,” directed by Vicki Nantz, a former news director for Orlando’s WESH-TV, continues to open hearts and minds to the cause of human equality throughout Florida and beyond.  Damien, Ryan’s older brother, has married and moved away from Florida.  He and his wife welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Ryan, into the world this past year, so in an act of life in defiance of death, another Ryan Skipper lives and thrives in her uncle’s memory.

The Unfinished Lives Project was inspired by the life story of Ryan Skipper: his extraordinary capacity for love and friendship, his ability to make people feel appreciated and important, and his unconquerable spirit of life.  His story occupies a chapter in the recent book, Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memories of LGBTQ Hate Crimes Victims (Resource Publications, 2011), entitled “Keeper of Hearts.”

Every time Ryan is remembered and his story is retold, the intentions of his killers and their accomplices in today’s culture and politics are thwarted.  Ryan is precious in our memory on his birthday.  Our fight for equality and justice continues because Ryan lives on in our hearts.

April 28, 2012 - Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Blame the victim, Florida, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, Media Issues, Politics, Remembrances, Slashing attacks, Social Justice Advocacy, Special Comments | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Ryan had overcome many obsticals in his life and reconciled many conflicts that our society placed in his path. He was comfortable with who he was and as his parents we were proud of that accomplishment. Ryan has not been forgotten and we still love him. Thank you all for remembering and caring, especially on his birthday.

    Comment by Lynn Mulder | April 28, 2012

    • How can I do less, my friends? Ryan is dear to me, and to so many of us, even to people he never met. God bless you and your family, Lynn.


      Comment by unfinishedlives | April 28, 2012

  2. I have never had the pleasure of meeting Ryan but I can see what a beautiful person he was through his wonderful smile and beautiful eyes. I lost my younger brother, he was right around Ryan’s age when he passed , my heart will always have a void. Time makes it a little easier but the hurt never goes away. My thoughts and prayers to Ryan’s family and friends, God bless you for accepting this exceptional human being for who he was. Truly he was taken far too soon. Peace be with you and know that you will see him again in the not too distant future as I will see my brother too one day.

    Comment by Chantal Clarke | July 31, 2012

    • Beautiful tribute to your brother, to Ryan, and to all the fallen. Thank you, Chantel!

      Yours truly,

      Steve Sprinkle
      Unfinished Lives

      Comment by unfinishedlives | July 31, 2012

  3. […] and Mary Meeks produced and filmed a 72-minute documentary about Skipper’s murder entitled Accessory to Murder: Our Culture’s Complicity in the Death of Ryan Skipper, that premiered in January 2008.  In 2011, Ryan’s story was published in a book dedicated to […]

    Pingback by Ryan Keith Skipper Would Be Thirty-two Today « Unfinished Lives | April 28, 2013

  4. Ryan was a great friend of mine and he’s been in my thoughts often and remembered fondly of. My sincere love and warmest thoughts and prayers go out to all of his friends and family. Thank you for doing everything you have done in his memory.
    Much love

    Comment by Andrea C | August 20, 2013

  5. Ryan is thought of often, he was a great friend of mine. Recently, I’ve come across your blog, and having read some of the articles about him, it has given me some peace in knowing how things have turned out, even as upsetting as the events were. Not one person should have to ever go through this with one of their family members or loved ones.

    Thank you also for the information that has been brought out with the documentary and articles.

    Ryan is missed and loved dearly..

    Wishing you all comfort

    Comment by odinskitten | August 20, 2013

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