Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Alleged Butcher of Richard Hernandez Wins Mistrial for Meds Excuse

Seth Winder

Denton, Texas – For the second time in a history of delays and postponements, Richard Hernandez’s alleged murderer was ruled “incompetent to stand trial” on November 18 by a Denton County judge.  Seth Winder, 31, was ruled unable to assist in his own defense by District Judge Bruce McFarling after an examination finding him either unmedicated for his diagnosed mental impairment, or insufficiently dosed, according to the Crime Blog of the Dallas Morning News.  Winder exhibited nearly catatonic behavior during the third day of the trial–evidencing that he had received none of his prescribed drugs for his schizophrenia, or that he had been spitting out and hiding his nighttime dosages, perhaps for weeks before the trial began. No explanation was given for how Winder could have been considered fit for trial on November 16, but zombie-like two days later.  Neither was there an explanation of how jailers and med staff at the Denton County Jail could have so woefully neglected to make sure their smart-though-impaired inmate took his meds as directed and actually swallowed them.

Instead of completing the trial process for the gruesome murder and dismemberment of the openly gay Dallasite, Winder was sent to the North Texas State Hospital in Vernon for treatment.  The Dallas Observer speculates that Winder may not ever face trial again for the Silence-0f-the-Lambs-style butchery of  38-year-old Hernandez, whose body was never found–save for his internal organs left in the bathtub of his Far North Dallas apartment in September 2008.  This marks a second instance that Winder was found unfit to stand trial because of mental issues, the first being in May 2009.  Observer reporter Brantley Hargrove found legal opinion divided on whether the Colony resident will have another day in court.  Winder’s Defense Attorney, Derek Adame, says he seriously doubts another trial will take place. Denton County Assistant District Attorney Cary Piel, however, believes Winder will face judge and jury again, probably in April 2012.

Winder stands accused of murdering Hernandez in the gay man’s apartment, though the reasons for their relationship remain murky.  Both the Morning News and the Observer repeated the unproven allegation that the victim and his supposed killer were gay lovers.  Hernandez’s best friend, Rudy Araiza, has staunchly denied the possibility that Winder and Hernandez were ever “lovers,” and makes that point again in a blog response to the Dallas Morning News allegation. “Richard and Seth were ‘Never’ boyfriends!” Araiza said. “I’m not sure why this newspaper is making that statement, I knew Richard for 22 years, I would know!”  It may be another instance in which a grisly anti-gay hate crime is toned down for public consumption by partially blaming the victim for his own demise.  Media around the country have a notorious record for succumbing to this sensationalist temptation.  Investigators said they found pornographic pictures of Winder on the cell phone he lifted from the Hernandez apartment, though no proof has been offered of who took the images, or what they actually depict.

Although the murder weapon was never found, police did retrieve a sword stained with Hernandez’s blood in the tent where Winder was living. Detectives say that Winder used the sword to cut up the gay man’s body.  The dismembered parts of the victim were probably disposed of in a nearby dumpster, and then buried under tons of garbage in a landfill, making the body impossible to locate.  Winder’s use of Hernandez’s credit cards led police to arrest him.  Witnesses placed Winder in Hernandez’s apartment complex at or near the time of the gay man’s disappearance. Forensics found that the blood stains on Winder’s clothing and shoes were a genetic match to the victim.

So, Seth Winder, either crazy like a fox, or a neglected patient (or both), has avoided the jury again.  Meanwhile, Richard Hernandez, who in death cannot answer the innuendo against his character, receives no justice.  The eerie quiet throughout North Texas surrounding this latest trial development in one of the most heinous crime cases in Dallas history seems to confirm  that many have an investment in hushing the whole thing up. Which would not be the first time such a thing has happened in Texas when it comes to violence against the LGBTQ community.

November 30, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Blame the victim, Decapitation and dismemberment, Evisceration, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Media Issues, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Alleged Butcher of Richard Hernandez Wins Mistrial for Meds Excuse

Gay Murder/Dismemberment Trial Gets Underway Today in North Texas

Richard Hernandez, victim, and Seth Winder, the accused (l to r; Dallas Voice image)

Dallas, Texas – After three years of delays and postponements, the trial of the accused murderer of openly gay Richard Hernandez begins today.  The Dallas Voice, doing great journalistic work on this difficult case, announced the story on November 10, quoting first assistant Denton County district attorney Jamie Beck on the trial delays, “Everybody wants a swifter and quicker justice, but you’ve got to do it right. Bottom line, we want justice, so if that means it takes a while, then so be it.”

The “Silence of the Lambs” style murder of 38-year-old Hernandez, an employee of Walmart, drew national press attention in September 2008 when the victim’s viscera but no body was discovered in an apartment in far North Dallas.  When Hernandez, a conscientious employee, did not report for work, his friends prevailed on the apartment superintendent to open his residence, and what they found resembled a slaughterhouse.  Copious amounts of blood spattered the walls.  Hernandez’s body was never found, but tissue from it was left, dumped in the bathtub.  Dallas Police acted quickly to track down the killer. True Crime reported that the DPD filed capital murder charges against Seth Winder, 29, a homeless man with a history of erratic behavior and mental illness, even though they did not have possession of a body in the case–only the third time in thirty years of police department history.

Winder was located because of credit card charges he made to Hernandez’s stolen cards after the murder date.  Police apprehended Winder in a tent inThe Colony, where he was in possession of personal items of the victim and a bloody sword that may have been used in the dismemberment.  The Dallas Voice reports the police conclusion that the killer disposed of the body in a trash dumpster which was emptied in a landfill, making Hernandez’s remains unrecoverable.

Winder’s competence to stand trial was hotly contested in the earlier days of the case.  His father and stepmother told the press that their son was a schizophrenic who had once tried to strangle his own mother.  Friends of Hernandez contended that Winder was just clever enough to play ill in order to avoid responsibility for the grisly murder.  The whole stew was made nastier by the report of police investigators that they discovered a digital camera belonging to Hernandez with “pornographic images” of Winder. The victim’s friends and family vigorously denied the implication that Hernandez and Winder were in a sexual relationship. In the end, Winder was ruled incompetent to stand trial.

Hernandez’s mother will not be there today to see if justice will be done for her son.  She died with the story unresolved, thanks in part to a strategy of delays put in place by Winder’s legal defense team, and to the untimely publication of a book on the murder authored by Winder’s own stepmother.

Now, after years of treatment, authorities say Seth Winder is able to face his day in court.  Jury selection has begun, and barring other delays, three years of agonized waiting are about to conclude for Richard Hernandez’s friends and remaining family.

November 14, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, capital punishment, Decapitation and dismemberment, Evisceration, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Unfinished Lives” Book Tour Rolls Through North Carolina


Stephen Sprinkle signs "Unfinished Lives" book at Barton College, Wilson, North Carolina (Keith Tew photograph)

Raleigh, North Carolina – The Unfinished Lives Book Tour is visiting cities, churches, and campuses throughout the Old North State, and buzz is growing on the book wherever it goes.  Dr. Sprinkle commenced at the home of the Reverends Phil Jones and Cathy Cralle-Jones in Cary on April 9, where a packed house heard the story of how Unfinished Lives came to be. “I survived an anti-gay hate crime threat myself in 2000,” Dr. Sprinkle told the gathering of well-wishers for the book.  “That near-brush with physical violence just because I was gay set me on the journey to learn as much as I could about other stories of hate crimes victims in the United States,” he said. Representatives of St. Paul’s Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Hillyer Memorial Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, Covenant Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Cary, Hopewell United Methodist Church in Sampson County, and the Graduate School at North Carolina State University engaged Dr. Sprinkle in a lively Q & A on hate crimes in America.  On Sunday, April 10, Dr. Sprinkle preached for the 9 and 11 a.m. services at St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church in Wilmington, an LGBTQ-predominant congregation founded after the brutal 1990 disembowelment slaying of lesbian carpenter, Talana Quay Kreeger, “Talana with the wild, blonde hair.”  No church in the city would allow Kreeger’s funeral because of the negativity toward her homosexuality, though she was the innocent victim of a horrendous hate crime.  Coastal Carolina queer folk vowed never to depend on a straight Christian congregation again to allow a funeral for one of their own. Local visionary activist, social worker Tab Ballis, introduced Dr. Lou Buttino, head of the UNC-Wilmington Film Studies Department, and announced that “The Park View Project” documenting the murder of Talana Kreeger, would be seen to completion by the eminent filmmaker. Reverend John A. McLaughlin, pastor of St. Jude’s, welcomed Dr. Sprinkle on behalf of the city of Wilmington. In the afternoon, representatives of St. Jude’s and First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Wilmington, and Winterville Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) joined Dr. Sprinkle for a book signing at Two Sisters Bookery in the historic Cape Fear Riverfront Cotton Exchange. On Monday, April 11, Dr. Sprinkle spoke at the NC State University GLBT Center “Lunch and Learn” event, and signed copies of his book. Center Director Justine Hollingshead and Emeritus Professor Bill Swallow hosted Dr. Sprinkle at State, where members of the Wolfpack Football Team were in attendance for the talk. This was Dr. Sprinkle’s second appearance at the NC State GLBT Center. In the afternoon, Dr. Sprinkle and Rev. Phil Jones went to Wilson to deliver a lecture and sign books at Barton College.  Dr. Sprinkle was hosted by Dr. Joe Jones, and greeted by members of the Religion and Philosophy, Sociology, Social Work, and English faculties of the college. He spoke on “Honor and Educate: How the Community of the Dead Shapes LGBTQ Community.”  Students, faculty, and staff asked many probing and pertinent questions about the nature of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes and the linkage with religious intolerance. On Tuesday, April 12, Rev. Jones and Dr. Sprinkle traveled to Duke University Divinity School in Durham for a book signing sponsored by Cokesbury Bookstore. Dr. Stanley Hauerwas, renowned theological ethicist, called “America’s best theologian” by Time Magazine, attended, and got his copy of Unfinished Lives. “These stories need to be gotten out there,” Dr. Hauerwas said. He presented Dr. Sprinkle with a signed copy of his 2005 book, Cross-Shattered Christ: Meditations on the Seven Last Words. Later in the afternoon, the tour went to the LGBTQ Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where Dr. Sprinkle and Rev. Jones were greeted by Terry Phoenix, Center Director. A topic of discussion was the April 4 torture attack on gay UNC student Quinn Matney, who claimed he was branded by a super-hot metal instrument while being held down by his assailant. “Here is a taste of hell for you, you fucking faggot!”, the UNC student said his attacker shouted while torturing him, as reported to the Daily Tarheel. Before departing Chapel Hill, Dr. Sprinkle introduced his book to Dr. Rick Edens and Dr. Jill Edens, co-pastors at the 800-member United Church, a congregation of the United Church of Christ. Dr. Sprinkle plans to contact RDU leaders on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith Program on Wednesday, before returning to Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth.  The book tour is making friends and news everywhere it goes.  A four-session series on the book is planned for Houston during Pride Month, in June, and a six city national tour in the Fall.  Stay tuned for more on Unfinished Lives!

April 12, 2011 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Barton College, Beatings and battery, Bisexual persons, Book Tour, Bullying in schools, Burning and branding, Cokesbury Books, Covenant Christian Church, death threats, desecration of corpses, Duke Divinity School, Evisceration, First Christian Church Wilmington, funerals, gay bashing, gay men, gay teens, gender identity/expression, Gender Variant Youth, harassment, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Human Rights Campaign Religion and Faith Program, It Gets Better Book, It Gets Better Project (IGBP), Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Legislation, Lesbian women, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ suicide, Matthew Shepard Act, NC State GLBT Center, NC State Graduate School, North Carolina, Park View Project, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Public Theology, Queer, Racism, rape, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, School and church shootings, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, St Jude's MCC, stabbings, stalking, Stanley Hauerwas, Stomping and Kicking Violence, Strangulation, suicide, Torture and Mutilation, transgender persons, transphobia, Two Sisters Bookery, U.S. Navy, UNC-Chapel Hill LGBTQ Center, UNC-W Film Studies Program, Unfinished Lives Book Signings, United Church of Chapel Hill, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, women | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Unfinished Lives” Book Tour Rolls Through North Carolina

Another Delay in Notorious Dallas Gay Dismemberment Trial

Seth Winder, charged with the dismemberment of gay Latino, Richard Hernandez

Dallas, Texas – The first-degree murder trial of Seth Winder, charged with the grisly dismemberment of openly gay Dallasite, Richard Hernandez, has been postponed for another four months, according to reports received from the Dallas Voice. Winder was finally to stand trial on January 24 for the September 2008 slaying of the gentle, well-liked Hernandez, a resident of North Dallas who worked as an Associate for Wal-mart. The Denton County District Attorney’s Office announced the delay of trial until May 23, in response to the petition of Winder’s defense attorney, Derek Adame. This postponement of the trial date puts the commencement of justice for Richard Hernandez to a full two-and-a-half years since the visceral organs of the victim were discovered in his apartment bathtub.  The Voice notes that the May trial date itself is considerably in doubt at this point.  The events following the arrest of Seth Winder for the murder of Hernandez are a case study in the muting of a Latino gay murder in the Southwest. The forensic details of the crime are gruesome in the extreme. Though the sensational aspects of a dismemberment seem to lend themselves to media and LGBTQ community attention, a strange pall has fallen over this story for years. Dallas-Fort Worth television and radio news are filled with regular stories of mayhem, yet this bloody, outrageous crime has received relatively little attention in local media, with the exception of coverage by the Dallas Voice. Controversy has dogged this story since its inception. Winder, arrested with blood-stained evidence in his possession, has been variously described as mentally disabled and homicidal, even by his own family. Winder’s father’s girlfriend, Karen Dilbeck, threw a spanner in the works by authoring and publishing a book-length account of the crime and a pastiche of her husband’s mental state at the time of the murder. Because of a spate of publicity that might have affected a trial, justice was postponed in the wake of the book’s publication. Psychological experts have pronounced on Winder’s capacity to understand right and wrong, and his ability to stand trial for the murder. Friends of Hernandez have repeatedly called on officials to bring the case to a speedy trial, contending that Winder knew what he was doing when he allegedly cut his victim to pieces. A&E’s The First 48 attempted to revive interest in the story, but failed. Today’s news of yet another postponement works to dampen the community awareness of the story further. Gay men who habituate the Oaklawn-Cedar Springs entertainment district where the gay community of Dallas congregates seem to have no recognition of the name of Richard Hernandez or the heinous murder that has been likened to Richard Harris’s “Hannibal the Cannibal” best-seller and major motion picture, The Silence of the Lambs. Why such little interest or knowledge of the crime exists in Dallas in 2011 is cause for major concern. This is the hallmark of a gay hate crime being covered over by community neglect and denial, especially when the victim is non-White and past the Twink stage. In the end, the LGBTQ community has the responsibility for keeping the memory of Richard Hernandez alive both so that justice may be finally rendered in this terrible case, and also for the sake of the Dallas LGBTQ community’s social identity.  It is sadly no surprise that major media such as Belo Corporation’s newspaper and television station de-emphasize the plight of gay and lesbian Texans due to hate crimes.  They have been doing so for generations. But the local queer community, with the happy exception of the Dallas Voice, has dropped the ball for a series of reasons community leaders would do well to understand and counteract, if the LGBTQ voices in Dallas and North Texas are ever to be taken seriously by a neglectful heterosexist majority in this city and county.  Meanwhile, the justice Richard Hernandez’s friends seek is deferred.  And justice deferred is justice denied.

January 11, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Decapitation and dismemberment, desecration of corpses, Evisceration, gay men, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Latinos, Law and Order, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, stabbings, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Mother Dies Before Justice Is Done for Her Slain Gay Son

(l to r) Hernandez, Winder - photo courtesy of Dallas Voice

Dallas, Texas – The Dallas Voice reports that the mother of murdered gay man, Richard Hernandez, will never see justice done for her son.  Richard’s mother, Mary Garcia Hernandez, died this week, before the alleged hate murderer of her son was brought to trial. John Wright of the Voice posted the full letter of  Rudy Araiza, close friend to the Hernandez family, informing the public of Mrs, Hernandez’s death on August 23.   Hernandez, a 38-year-old gay man who worked as an Associate at Walmart, was gruesomely dismembered and eviscerated by his attacker in what has been described as a “Silence-of-the-Lambs” style slaying in September 2008, as reported by Unfinished Lives.  Hernandez’s body has never been found, but his internal organs were discovered in his own bathtub when the apartment superintendent admitted police in an attempt to find him.  Seth Lawton Winder, 29, was arrested and charged with theft and capital murder by the Dallas Police Department shortly after the horrific murder.  In a widely publicized debate in the press and the blogosphere, Winder was said by family and friends to be unfit mentally to stand trial because of a host of mental problems. Others sought to blame Hernandez for his own murder, suggesting that Winder was tricking for money or drugs, and killed his john.  No supporting evidence has been brought forward to substantiate what amounts to a permutation of the rather shabby “gay panic” defense.  Friends and supporters of Hernandez deny an allegation that he was sexually involved with Winder, whom Hernandez had tried to help, according to neighbors and co-workers.  Winder was adjudged fit to stand trial for the murder, but then a book, “Slipping Into Madness: The Seth Winder Story,” was published by Winder’s father’s girlfriend that would potentially prejudice the public prior to Winder’s day in court.  The delays and stalling have seemed never ending for nearly two years.  Rudy Araiza wrote the Voice, in part: “Well I’m witting this letter to just reach out to you and inform you that it’s a terrible thing when your son’s passing is still at a point where no justice has been made for going on two years. And in your own life (Richard’s mom) you are struggling with pain, sadness, emptiness and health problems that don’t make it any easier to live with, until one day you die. Only to never really understand or find the justice you wanted for your son, yourself, friends or family, and having so much on your plate. Mary Garcia Hernandez passed away Monday, Aug. 23, 2010 from health issues she was dealing with.”  The Unfinished Lives Project Team thanks the Voice and Reporter John Wright for continuing coverage of this important story, and sends our sympathy to the Hernandez family in their mother’s death.  In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Justice too long deferred is justice denied.”

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Character assassination, Decapitation and dismemberment, Evisceration, gay men, gay panic defense, Hate Crimes, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Texas | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Mother Dies Before Justice Is Done for Her Slain Gay Son

Richard Hernandez’s Alleged Murderer Incompetent to Stand Trial?

Richard Hernandez (l), and Seth Winder, courtesy of Dallas Voice

Richard Hernandez (l), and Seth Winder, courtesy of Dallas Voice

Denton, TX: Seth Winder, 29, prime suspect in the horrific dismemberment of out gay Dallasite, Richard Hernandez, has been ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial and is being remanded to a mental health facility for treatment.


Hernandez, out gay resident of a portion of far north Dallas in Denton County, was slain in a grisly, Silence-of-the-Lambs-style fashion in his apartment in early September 2008.  Investigators found tissue from Hernandez’s internal organs in a bathtub, but his body has never been found.  Informed sources speculate that his dismembered body was disposed of in a Dumpster, and subsequently buried in a landfill.

Winder was first suspected of the murder when he allegedly used debit cards belonging to Hernandez some days after the murder.  Blood-coated evidence was found by police at two campsites where Winder spent time.  They also recovered a camera in Winder’s father’s home that preserved “pornographic images” of Seth Winder in Hernandez’s apartment.

Derek Adame, Winder’s court-appointed defense attorney, told reporters that his client was being sent to a psychiatric facility for treatment because he seemed not to understand the charges against him and had trouble communicating to build a defense on his behalf.  A Denton County judge ordered the committal, finding Seth Winder mentally “incompetent with a probability of recovery.”

Winder’s father, Rodney Winder, estranged from his son because of what he described as Seth’s “schizophrenia,” says that he tried unsuccessfully to get Seth committed for years because of his behavior.  His father related Seth’s obsession with knives, and his disturbing pattern of chopping up snakes, spreading the pieces on the lawn at his father’s house.

Michel Foucault, French 20th c. philosopher

Michel Foucault, French 20th c. philosopher

Michel Foucault, the renowned French philosopher, was among the first to note the role madness plays in recent history.  In his works, Madness and Civilization, and History of Madness, Foucault makes the point that madness is a social construct reflecting each era’s notions of what is pathological.  What we call “sanity” may well be the sum of all of our societal madness.  If Seth Winder is proven to have cut Richard Hernandez to pieces, we are left to wonder what role the homophobia of church and society played in his actions.  Foucault suggests that social depravity is a perverse implantation.  As long as homophobia is part of the social fabric of American life, the line between “sane” killers of LGBT people and “insane” ones will remain blurred.

English madhouse, 18th c., by William Hogarth

English madhouse, 18th c., by William Hogarth

To his father, Seth Winder’s madness is “bona fide,” as he told the press.  To friends and relatives of Richard Hernandez, his madness is crazy like a fox. Rudy Araiza, gay longtime friend of Hernandez, told John Wright of the Dallas Voice, “I honestly believe that he knew what he was doing, and now this is his way of not paying for his actions or serving time.  This guy is just buying himself some time.”

When will Seth Winder be competent to participate in his own defense and to stand trial?  Psychiatrists will have to make that determination to the satisfaction of a judge.  This case points up the symptoms of a society so ill that it may determine an individual delusional when he dismembers a gay man, but may go on to accept the everyday irrational hatred of LGBT people as moral and sane.  Until a final judgement is made on the mental capacity of Seth Winder, there is one thing both his father and Hernandez’s friends agree upon: he must remain behind bars [Thanks to Dallas Voice journalist John Wright for fine reporting on this story].

April 27, 2009 Posted by | Decapitation and dismemberment, Evisceration, gay men, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Texas, Torture and Mutilation | 27 Comments

Project Activity — Fall of 2008

In the fall of 2008, the Unfinished Lives Project agreed to participate in community events in Texas and North Carolina remembering victims of anti-LGBT hate crimes. In September, our project director traveled to Wilmington, North Carolina, where he served as a panelist at the Park View Project’s documentary film premier dedicated to the life of Talana Quay Kreeger. While there, Dr. Sprinkle also gave an Unfinished Lives presentation to St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church. October marked the 10th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s murder in Laramie, Wyoming. Our project joined a Matthew Shepard remembrance held at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, and then participated in the “Hope, Not Hate” remembrance at the University of Texas in Austin. These and other project activities are included below.

September 2008Wilmington, North Carolina – From September 26-29, Dr. Sprinkle was the guest of Family Tree Productions, independent filmmakers creating a documentary about the life and death of Talana Quay Kreeger, 32, savagely disemboweled by long haul trucker Ronald Thomas in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1990.

Talana Quay Kreeger

(photo courtesy of Tab Ballis)

Ronald Thomas

Dr. Sprinkle keynoted the premier of the trailer of “Park View,” the film documenting Talana’s death in this North Carolina port city. Tab Ballis is the Producer/Director of “Park View,” and Linda Warden is Associate Producer/Editor.

The waterfront at Wilmington, North Carolina

Linda Warden, Steve Sprinkle, and Tab Ballis

St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church, pastored by Rev. Amanda McCullough, hosted the event. St. Jude’s was founded soon after Talana’s murder because LGBT people had been turned away by all but one church in Wilmington as a site for her memorial service. Gay people vowed never to be in that situation again.

St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church

Steve Sprinkle and Amanda McCullough

Talana was a carpenter, and a regular at the Lesbian bar, the Park View Grill, on Carolina Beach Road. She was remodeling the bar, drinking beer, and playing pool on the night of February 22, 1990 when Alabamian Ronald Thomas offered her a ride after closing hour to Hardee’s just a mile up the road to get some late night breakfast. Thomas was to drop off a load of oranges at Hoggard High next morning. Instead, he pulled his rig off the road to a remote dead end, and assaulted and raped Talana, smashing her dentures, and manually disemboweling her.

The Park View Grill

Talana Kreeger’s murder site

Details from Talana Kreeger’s autopsy report

(photo courtesy of Tab Ballis)

October 2008Austin, Texas – On Sunday, October 12, a coalition of Austin’s LGBTs and African Americans sponsored “Hope, Not Hate,” a public remembrance and vigil marking the 10th Anniversary of the hate killings of James Byrd, Jr. and Matthew Shepard. Our director, Dr. Sprinkle, keynoted the event at University Baptist Church exactly ten years after Byrd’s and Shepard’s hate crime murders in Jasper, Texas, and Laramie, Wyoming, respectively.

Candlelighters at “Hope, Not Hate” in Austin, Texas

Steve Sprinkle delivers the “Hope, Not Hate” keynote address

Among the committee organizers for the “Hope, Not Hate” event were Rev. Karen Thompson, of Metropolitan Community Church in Austin; Colonel Paul Dodd, U.S. Army (ret.), of the Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network; and Paul Scott, Executive Director of Equality Texas.

Steve Sprinkle, Rev. Karen Thompson, and Col. Paul Dodd

Paul Scott and Steve Sprinkle

Todd Harvey, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, has been deeply involved in the Unfinished Lives Project, and was also present for the event.

Unfinished Lives Project supporter, Todd Harvey

Better than 150 people participated in the vigil and candlelight ceremony. Together with Dr. Sprinkle, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo also made remarks at the event.

Candles in remembrance of Matthew Wayne Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.

October 2008Fort Worth, Texas – Rev. Harry Knox, Director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith Program, spoke at Brite Divinity School and TCU for the “Erase the Hate Campaign,” remembering the 10th Anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death.

Harry Knox and Brite Divinity School’s Dr. Namsoon Kang

Harry made a wonderful, powerful contribution to the equality movement on TCU’s campuses. Dr. Sprinkle served as Harry’s host and participated throughout the events of the week.

TCU’s Dr. Harriet Cohen and Harry Knox

Harry Knox and Shelly Newkirk, Vice President of the TCU Gay/Straight Alliance

November 2008Austin, Texas – Dr. Sprinkle was a presenter at the Open Circle GLBT Retreat held at University Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, on November 15, 2008. His presentation was “Journey of Reconciliation: Soul-Weariness.”

November 2008Fort Worth, Texas – Unfinished Lives project director Stephen Sprinkle spoke at the Transgender Day of Remembrance held at Agapé Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Worth, Texas, on November 20, and gave a presentation entitled “Innocent Blood: Guarding the Memories of Our Slain Transgender Sisters and Brothers.” The title and subject of the presentation was inspired by an Icon written by Fr. William Hart McNichols, entitled Jesus Christ: the Seraphic Guardian of the Blood, and dedicated to Petty Officer Allen Schindler and the Thousands of Victims of anti-LGBT Hate Crimes.

Jesus Christ: the Seraphic Guardian of the Blood

by Fr. William Hart McNichols

December 8, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Art and Architecture, Asian Americans, Evisceration, gay men, Lesbian women, North Carolina, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Popular Culture, Project Activity Summaries, Remembrances, Social Justice Advocacy, Texas, Wyoming | 1 Comment


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