Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Gay New Jersey Man Beaten To Death; Plea Bargains for His Killers May Reduce Charges Drastically

Scott M. Patronick (1963-2011): “I wanted to grow old together with him,” his lover said.

Phillipsburg, New Jersey – The brutal 2011 murder of out New Jersey gay man Scott Patronick made news again as his alleged killers rejected another round of plea bargains to reduce the penalty for killing a queer. Patronick, 47, a popular and well-regarded chef at the Hilltop Café, was attacked by two men who beat and kicked him to death on February 28, 2011.  Patronick suffered a fractured skull, and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Security video cameras caught the assault as it occurred, and the suspects who callously left Patronick for dead, Joshua Dalrymple, 27, and Nicholas Yerian, 24, were arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Patronick’s lover, Michael Joseph Bumbaca, 20, has no doubt that the murder was an anti-gay hate crime, though local police deny it.

Both Dalrymple and Yerian have bluffed the District Attorney twice now, most recently this very week rejecting a plea deal that would reduce the charges against them to aggravated manslaughter, according to the Express-Times: “The deals called for Dalrymple to spend 17 years in state prison and for Yerian to serve a 12-year prison sentence, with neither man being eligible for early release. Both would be ordered to pay restitution and would be barred from contacting the victim’s family.” Both men are shooting the dice for an even lower charge, counting on local amnesia and negativity about gay men to work in their favor.  Patronick’s family stated to the press that the penalties were not enough time to make up for the life of their son and brother. But no mention is made of Patronick’s partner, Michael Bumbaca.  They apparently had a problem with Patronick’s sexual orientation, and Bumbaca was an embarrassing reminder of who their loved one really was.  Bumbaca’s name was pointedly left out of the survivors in Scott’s online obituary.

In March 2011, Bumbaca gave an extensive interview to All Voices in which he said that his lover Scott straightforwardly admitted his sexual orientation, and was proud to be gay. When asked directly about the fatal attack, Bumbaca said, “It’s a hate crime.” He believes there may be a connection between Patronick’s murder and the testimony his lover gave in a 2006 gay bashing case of another victim, Bryan Wesselius.  Prosecutors failed to lock the assailant in that case away for any more than three years in state prison, and local residents were very aware of the role Patronick played in the trial. Everyone knew Patronick was plain-spoken and would not take an assault on gay people lightly. His restaurant manager, Scott R. Shafer, told All Voices that he would sorely miss the straightforward Patronick. “He was very opinionated, but he was just the nicest guy,” Schafer said. “If I was ever in a pinch, he’d be the first one to help. We won’t be able to replace him. I’ll need two people to replace him.” Bumbaca agreed about what a good guy he was. Scott enjoyed antiques, cooking, and his beagles. He and Patronick fell in love and had plans for the future. “I planned to grow old with him,” Bumbaca said.

Since a $770 paycheck was robbed from Patronick’s person by the suspects, prosecutors in Warren County want to leave any anti-gay bias out of the equation and call this a robbery gone bad. But broken-hearted Michael and the local LGBTQ community know differently. Gay murders don’t get much sympathy in Warren County, one of New Jersey’s mountain counties, located in the northwestern part of the state. Prosecutors like to plea things out, and move along. But people in Phillipsburg remember Scott.  In a moving remembrance on his obituary tribute page, a local woman wrote: “I did not know Scott very well at all. He was my waiter on Valentine’s Day and handed me a rose when my husband and I sat down. We saw an older woman dining by herself and told Scott that we would like to pay for her dinner… he smiled and said that it was his mother. When my husband went to the bathroom, Scott brought us the check and on the back, he wrote in beautiful handwriting that he took care of it and for us to have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. It was the nicest gesture of human kindness I’ve seen in a long time….”

August 3, 2012 - Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, License to Bully bill, New Jersey | , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

  1. I’m sorry, but how many more of us must die before we, as a community, seriously consider the option of responsible gun ownership?

    How many more beautiful people will be savagely killed by these jackals in human form? “Turning the other cheek” just gives them a new surface to punch.

    I am always horrified by just how many of these attacks there are. I think the average straight person really has NO idea.

    There should be something like the NAMES Project that shows people who the victims were and perhaps even describes how they died.

    Next to each victim can be an anti-gay quote along with the name & picture of the person who said it.

    “Society” doesn’t want to know the truth, and when they hear it, they just want to forget.

    We shouldn’t let them forget.

    Own your hate America.

    Comment by Andrew | January 31, 2013

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