Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Decorated Sailor Charged with the Murder of Gay Sailor August Provost

August Provost pic on his MySpace page

August Provost pic on his MySpace page

San Diego, CA – The U.S. Navy says that a decorated petty officer has been charged with murder and other offenses in the June 30 slaying of gay Seaman August Provost at Camp Pendleton, California.  Jonathan Campos, 32, has been in military custody since July 1, when the smoldering remains of Seaman Provost were found inside the guard shack where he stood sentry on the night of his murder.  Campos, a Lancaster, CA native, enlisted in the Navy in 2001.  He is a military fuel-system technician who had received numerous decorations, including the Good Conduct Medal.  He has been charged with murder and arson, as well as charges of wrongful possession of a firearm, unlawful entry to a military base, carrying a concealed weapon and stealing military property.  Forensic evidence shows that Provost was shot multiple times with a .45 calibre pistol.  The sentry shack was then torched with Provost’s body inside in order to destroy evidence of the crime.  The Navy continues to deny that the victim was killed because of his sexual orientation.  Instead, naval investigators for NCIS contend that Provost surprised Campos as he was seeking to gain entry to the anchorage where hovercraft were docked in order to set one of them afire, and that Campos shot Provost at that time.  Provost’s family and friends, along with gay rights activists, believe that his sexual orientation played a factor in the murder.  His aunt has told the press that her nephew complained to her about being repeatedly harassed for his homosexuality, and that he had one prime antagonist on base at Camp Pendleton.  Though it is not known whether Campos is that antagonist, both he and Provost served in the same unit, Assault Craft 5.  Ben Gomez, head of the San Diego chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights, a national LGBT servicemembers organization, said to San Diego 6 that he and other LGBT activists believe Seaman Provost’s murder was a hate crime.  They contend that he was killed after having an argument about his sexuality with an antagonist on base.  They do not find the Navy’s claim credible that Provost was a “random” victim.  While the Navy largely bases their claim that sexual orientation did not play a part in Provost’s murder since he had never filed a complaint with his superiors about being harassed for being gay, family and the LGBT community counter that he could not have felt safe approaching his commanders at Camp Pendleton because of the threat posed to his continuing military service because of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT).  Members of the U.S. House of Representatives from California and Provost’s native Texas are calling for a full investigation into the case.

July 23, 2009 Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Arson, California, DADT, gay men, gun violence, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, immolation, military, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Texas, U.S. Navy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Decorated Sailor Charged with the Murder of Gay Sailor August Provost

North Carolina arson case is a hate crime

An EDGE Boston article tells the story of Melvin Whistlehunt, whose house was burned down as part of an anti-LGBT hate crime.

On November 7, Whistlehunt received an urgent call at work warning him his house was burning. When firefighters arrived, they discovered signs of arson and an anti-gay slogan spray-painted on the brick of the home. The conflagration reached such severity that 28 firefighters and seven trucks were needed to bring the fire into control.

None of Whistlehunt’s property survived the blaze.

Additional information is available in this article at the Observer News Enterprise of Newton, North Carolina.

November 15, 2008 Posted by | Arson, gay men, Hate Crimes, North Carolina, Slurs and epithets, Uncategorized, vandalism | Comments Off on North Carolina arson case is a hate crime

Pattern of severe of anti-LGBT violence increases nationwide

stop hate hand

The Hate Crimes Bill has provided an excellent summary of a new report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs showing anti-LGBT violence has been on the rise since the murder of Lawrence “Larry” King in Oxnard, California, at the beginning of this year.

“The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) reports a recent rash of at least 13 brutal and violent hate crimes that have occurred throughout the country on the heels of the murder of 15 year-old Lawrence King in Los Angeles and the brutal beating of Duanna Johnson, both in February of 2008,” says the Hate Crimes Bill’s website. “NCAVP reports that these hate crimes may indicate a frightening trend of increases in both the number and severity of anti-LGBT violence.”

The NCAVP findings come after several anti-LGBT hate crimes, including the police beating of a transgender woman in Memphis, Tennessee; the harassment and beating of a gay man on a New York subway; the murder of a transgender woman in Memphis, Tennessee; the alleged police beating of a gay man in Greeley, Colorado; the beating of a priest in Queens, New York, for protecting a group of LGBT youth living at a shelter for homeless youth; the midnight home-invasion and arson, in Central New York, by a self-proclaimed Neo-Nazi, who targeted a sleeping 65-year-old gay man (the victim was able to flee the home, unhurt); the fatal bludgeoning of 18-year-old Angie Zapata, a transgender Latina woman in Greeley, Colorado; the beating of gay man Jimmy Lee Dean, in Dallas, Texas, whose injuries were so severe that he was in intensive care and could not be interviewed or identified until five days after the crime; the severe injury of a man in upstate New York, whose two assailants beat, kicked, and shouted anti-gay slurs until they had broken ten bones in their victim’s face; the attack against an 18-year-old living in St Helens, in the United Kingdom, who died a week later from his injuries; the (at least partially) anti-gay-motivated shooting rampage in a Knoxville, Tennessee, church that claimed two lives and wounded seven others; the mob-beating and stabbing of a man perceived to be gay in Staten Island, New York; the ongoing and escalating harassment (for nearly 8 years) of a gay male couple living in Cleveland, Ohio, by anti-gay neighbors; and the ongoing and escalating harassment (for nearly 20 years) of a gay male couple living in a rural Pennsylvania town, who have suffered incidents of gunfire, vandalism, stalking, acts of intimidation, and the indifference from local police.

In a grim coincidence, more than one anti-LGBT hate crime has occurred in both Memphis, Tennessee, and Greeley, Colorado, since the beginning of 2008.

Unfinished Lives also offers our own analysis of the significance of anti-LGBT hate-crime statistics in the United States. The NCAVP’s findings and the Hate Crimes Bill’s detailed summary confirm what has been a growing concern for LGBT persons living in the United States.

August 19, 2008 Posted by | Arson, Beatings and battery, Bludgeoning, Colorado, gun violence, harassment, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, home-invasion, mob-violence and lynching, multiple homicide, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacy, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, police brutality, religious intolerance, stabbings, stalking, Stomping and Kicking Violence, Tennessee, Texas, vandalism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Pattern of severe of anti-LGBT violence increases nationwide

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