Brooklyn, New York – A straight resident of the Williamsburg section of greater New York City was viciously beaten by a man yelling homophobic slurs, adding to the alarming number of hate crime attacks in the Big Apple. David Jimenez, 40, who identifies as a heterosexual man, told reporters from the Brooklyn Paper that the assault seemed to come out of nowhere as he walked his two Boston Terriers back to his apartment at about 11:30 p.m. on September 25. Jimenez says he had just escorted a group of his friends to a cab. As he passed a group of men sitting on a stoop on South Third Street between Bedford Avenue and Berry Street, he said he heard slurs being hurled at him, which he tried to ignore as he continued down the street toward his home. The next thing he knew, a brutal punch struck him in the face out of nowhere. “Someone started screaming, ‘Hey you, faggot,” said Jimenez. “I turned around and gave him a look like, ‘What the hell?’ and the next thing I know the guy starts punching me in the face.”
Jimenez could not successfully defend himself as he struggled to hold onto the leashes of his dogs as blows rained down on him. The assailant, who remains unnamed as of this report except for his being a 35-year-old man, broke his victim’s nose in four places, bruised his jaw. blacked both his eyes, and shattered the bones in one of his eye sockets. The attack was bloody, leaving copious stains of blood on the sidewalk that remained there for days after the crime. Though Jimenez is a straight man, NY1 reports that authorities are now investigating the attack as a bias-motivated hate crime. A witness to the crime called police who found the attacker still at the scene soaked in his victim’s blood. Officers arrested the assailant, and charged him initially with assault and possession of a controlled substance, and resisting arrest. Jimenez, now recuperating at home in preparation for reconstructive surgery to his face, says the wounds he suffered go far beyond the physical ones on his body: “My head, it cannot comprehend how this is the case, where you literally catch someone with blood in their hands, because when he was taken in, his fist was full of blood, and he’s out here walking while I’m in here locked in my house because I’m afraid of going outside.”
As EDGE On The Net reports, the hate crime attack on Jimenez adds an alarming new dimension to the rising epidemic of violence against LGBT New Yorkers in recent months, since even heterosexual people who are merely mistaken for being gay are now being targeted. During the summer, two alleged anti-gay hate crimes were investigated in Williamsburg by police, and in Manhattan, a gay man was fatally shot to death in the Chelsea/Greenwich Village area of the city, one of the queer-friendliest sections of the Big Apple, and the cradle of the modern LGBTQ Rights Movement. Jimenez told CBS 2 New York that coping with the crime against him will be a longtime struggle. “That’s the most difficult part — waking up every morning and trying to live my life like normal,” he said.
Forest Hill, Texas – A Tarrant County mother faces charges of abuse for using an electrical cord to whip her 15-year-old son whom she caught in same-sex act with an 18-year-old boy. CBSDFW reports that Erica Moore is adamantly defending her son’s punishment, claiming she was well within her rights to beat the child. “I actually caught this going on in my house so how was I supposed to react to it? I supposed to just let it go? No! We was taught to discipline our kids and we whoop our kids,” she said.
The “whooping” was severe enough to draw the attention of authorities who say she faces charges of assault with bodily injury to a family member, which, if proven, carries jail time with it. Police learned of the crime when the boy’s grandmother took him to a hospital emergency room to have his wounds treated. The beating left the boy with cut skin, bruises, and bleeding on his forearms, legs, back, torso, and hands.
Ms. Moore is fighting the charges on the grounds that she was taught to “whoop” her children, and that homosexuality is a sin. Waking up to sounds in her son’s room, she said she opened his bedroom door and found her boy having sex with his 18-year-old male cousin. Her account to Joe Gomez of KRLD News Radio was explicit in detail:
“My cousin at the time he was 18. My son he was 15 and I had walked in the room on [my cousin] giving oral sex to my son and I started whooping my son, and I’m the one who got in trouble as a result of me whooping him,” she said. “When I walked in I saw my son, it was just disgusting to me, the way he was looking and my cousin was looking, and my cousin immediately ran out the door. And I’m just like what the?!? You know, is you serious? So that was my reaction because it disgusted me.”
Continuing her justification of her actions, she said that if she caught her daughter doing something similar, she would beat her in the same way.
Forest Hill, a quiet mid-city situated between Fort Worth and Arlington, is typical in attitude toward perceived homosexuality in suburban North Texas. Ms. Moore said that when a Forest Hill Police Officer arrived to investigate, he said that if he had caught his boy in the same situation, he would have wanted to shoot him and his lover on the spot, but that the law prevented beating a child like she beat hers. Weeks later, the police arrested Ms. Moore for the beating, perhaps indicating the heterosexist sympathy of law enforcement for a mother brave enough attempt to “beat the gay” out of her son.
KRLD interviewed Child Protective Services spokesperson Marissa Gonzalez about the case. “If you are leaving the child with severe injuries or bruises,” she said, “then obviously we might be talking about abuse.”
The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex has a massive problem with children in their teens and earlier who are beaten, disowned, and forced out of their homes by parents who despise their sexual exploration and homosexual behavior. While nothing conclusively identifies Ms. Moore’s son as gay, he is headed toward becoming a sad statistic. Joanna Jenkins of Circle of Moms says that children deserve unconditional love, not judgment or punishment for their actual or imagined sexual orientation. She writes: “The question is: ‘How can you help your gay child?’ You can help your gay child with unconditional love and acceptance. We are talking about your child. Someone you gave birth to, who is a part of you. Do you want them to live a life of pain and guilt? Quote the Bible to them. It will not stop them from being who they are. Some gay children experience so much guilt and shame that they take their own life. Could you live with yourself if your child killed his/herself because you couldn’t accept them for who they are? Your child is still your child, gay or straight. The only thing that has changed is what you know about your child. A true mother’s love is unconditional and will be there long after she is gone.”
Durham, North Carolina – The leader of an anti-gay sect has pleaded guilty to murder for killing a 4-year-old boy because he thought the toddler was gay, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Peter Lucas Moses, 27, the leader of a polygamous group known as the “Black Hebrews,” has agreed to testify against his mother, brother, and sister in order to avoid the death penalty for himself. He faces two life sentences for the murders of Jadon Higganbothan, 4, and Antoinette Yvonne McKoy, 28, if convicted of the crimes.
WRAL-TV reports that members of the Black Separatist cult addressed Moses as “Lord,” and lived together in a house in Southeast Durham. In October 2010, because he believed he saw Higganbothan touch one of his sons “inapproriately” (the boy had allegedly spanked Moses’ son on the bottom), he ordered the boy’s mother to take him into the garage, where Moses shot the child in the head. The women in the group had arranged computer speakers in the garage to play the Lord’s Prayer in Hebrew loudly enough to drown out the sound of the gunshot. Two months later, when Moses found out that his consort McKoy could not have children and had decided to escape the cult, he shot her to death in a bathroom of the house. On June 8, 2011, investigators found the bodies of Higganbothan and McKoy buried in trash bags in the basement of another house belonging to the sect. Moses’ fingerprints were found on the tape used to secure the trash bags, and his handgun was proven to have been used in both murders.
The father of the little boy, Jamiel Higganbothan, told WRAL-TV News that he was furious the District Attorney had offered Moses a plea deal to save his life. “Me and my family wanted the death penalty,” Higganbothan said after the deal was announced. Moses’ brother, P. Leonard Moses, his sister, Sheila Moses, and his mother, Sheilda Harris, have been charged with accessories to the murder of Antoinetta McKoy. Jadon’s mother, Vania Sisk, and two other women who lived with Peter Moses, Larhonda Renee Smith and Lavada Quinzetta Harris, have been charged with murder in McKoy’s killing, and as accessories to the murder of the little boy.
The Black Hebrews, according to the SPLC, have roots going back to Black Separatist and Black Nationalist movements in the 19th century. They hold that they, not the Jews, are the true descendants of the Israelites in the Hebrew Bible. While most members of the modern movement in the United States are non-violent, a growing number of cells have become increasingly anti-Semitic, anti-gay, and prone to violence. They hold that modern Jews are imposters. These extremists also condemn whites for enslaving Blacks, and say that they are worthy of death or slavery because of it.
Washington, D.C. – Yelling anti-gay slurs, a U.S. Marine stabbed another Marine to death after seeing him embrace his male friend outside a popular Barracks Row pub in the nation’s capital. The Washington Post reports that Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Liebman confirmed that his office is proceeding with anti-gay hate crime charges against Michael Poth, 20, who stabbed Lance Corporal Philip M. Bushong, 23, on April 21. “This was a hate crime,” Liebman said. “The victim and his friend were embracing outside.” The Post goes on to say that a DC Metro Police homicide detective reported that the crime took place because Poth believed the two men hugging were both gay. In fact, while his friend is out and gay, Bushong was heterosexual.
The story confirms what hate crimes activists have seen time and again in fatalities like this: even the assumption that a person is gay or lesbian can be deadly.
Video surveillance of the area shows Bushong lifting his shirt after the attack with a startled look on his face, and then collapsing to the pavement. His assailant had stabbed him once in the chest with a pocket knife. When Poth heard that Bushong had been transported to a hospital to deal with the stab wound, he was heard shouting, “Good! I hope he dies!” Prior to the attack, Poth was heard threatening the two men he saw socializing outside the pub, “I’m going to stab someone and cut their lungs out.” Poth, who had already received a “less-than-honorable discharge” from the Marines according to court testimony, had been under investigation by the Marine Corps since last November for altercations with other Marines, and for drug offenses.
Poth has been charged with second degree murder. His attorney, who claims his client was defending himself from Bushong, unsuccessfully attempted to get the charge lowered to manslaughter. In the altercation, Bushong was heard calling Poth a “boot,” which in Marine slang suggests that Poth was a substandard soldier.
New York City – Six teenagers have been charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime in the fatal March attack on an 18-year-old male perceived to be gay. 365 Gay reports that the youths attacked and stomped Anthony Collao of Bethpage on Long Island to death as he was leaving a birthday party on March 15 in Woodhaven, Queens. The suspects, none of whom are older than 18, crashed the party, breaking windows, shouting “homophobic remarks,” and scrawling anti-gay slurs and epithets on the wall with a red marker. Collao and his cousin, sensing trouble, tried to leave the home, but were chased outside where the assailants threw Collao against a car, and savagely beating and stomping him until he no longer moved. His cousin screamed for them to stop, saying that Collao was not gay and had a girlfriend, but the attackers continued pressing their assault with their fists, shod feet, and a metal pipe. Collao fell into an irreversible coma and died two days later at a Jamaica hospital when life support was removed from him. Four suspects — Alex Velez, 16, of the Bronx, Christopher Lozada and Luis Tabales, both 17 and from Queens, and Nolis Ogando, 18, also from Queens – were arrested soon after the attack. A fifth suspect, Calvin Pietri, 17, of Woodhaven, who allegedly bragged about the killing on Facebook, was arrested within a day of the attack. Jonathan Echevarria, 16, of Brooklyn was also arrested and charged. Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown told news reporters that each suspect has been charged with a 21-count indictment of murder as a hate crime. The charges were upgraded after new evidence in the case came to light. The suspicion that someone might be gay, or even an unsubstantiated accusation of it, as in this case, carries the potential of death. Homophobia and heterosexism are deadly to straights as well as gays. The defendants in this case could each face as much as 25 years for the crime if found guilty.
New Port Richey, Florida – After days of deliberation, a Pasco County jury has found John Allen Ditullo, 24, guilty of the March 2006 murder of teenager Kristofer King, whom he thought to be gay. Ditullo, a Neo-Nazi who called himself “Syn,” invaded the home of Patricia Wells whom he slashed with a knife as she slept on a futon. King, a friend of Wells’s openly gay son, Brandon Wininger, ran out of the room where he had been browsing on the internet while Brandon was away. Ditullo attacked 17-year-old King with the knife, stabbing him repeatedly. King died of his wounds in a nearby hospital. Wells recovered. The outrage of the murder was made greater since King died as a case of mistaken identity. Ditullo, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, had an intense hatred of gays, according to testimony given by members of the Neo-Nazi cell group to which he belonged. Rumor had it that Tricia Wells had a relationship going on with a black male, and Ditullo decided to punish the gay youth and his mother for the double transgression of a gay son and an African American boyfriend. The King family acknowledged that Kris and Brandon Wininger were good friends from school, and that Kris King would occasionally stay the night at the Wells’s home with his parents’ permission. Ditullo, 20 at the time of the attack, assumed that the youth trying to flee the home he had invaded was the gay youth he intended to kill, and stabbed Kris King to death. Upon returning to the Neo-Nazi compound where he lived, Ditullo bragged to his fellow skinheads that he had murdered both Wells and her boy. According to testimony by a fellow skinhead and prison-mate, Corey Patnote, Ditullo claimed he was proud of what he had done. Patnote said Ditullio told him, “I killed ’em both, stabbed them in the head.” Prosecutors reminded jurors that Guy King, the murder victim’s father, received a Christmas card from Ditulio, decorated with a tombstone drawn on the front that read, “Rest In Peace. Here Lies Dead Faggot.” The message inside: “I hope your Christmas is full of memories of your dead gay son. Merry f—— Christmas.” After a nearly hung jury re-examined the DNA evidence from the attacks on Wells and King, they brought back a unanimous verdict of guilty against Ditullo on Thursday, December 16. He received 15 years for the attempt on the life of Tricia Wells, which he will serve concurrently with the life sentence for King’s murder. Bay News 9 reports that Charlene Bricken, King’s mother, expressed no sympathy for Ditullo after the trial. “I hope somebody gets him and he dies as brutal a death as my son did,” she said. Bricken, who says the past four years have been terribly difficult for her and the family, wants most of all for her son to be remembered as the generous, open, loving person he was in life.
Pearland, Texas – Joshua Wilkerson, 18, missing for 24 hours after leaving a Pearland school, was found deceased, his body partially immolated in an overgrown field off a desolate stretch of road in Fort Bend County. Hermilio Moralez, 19, was charged Thursday with the murder, according to a report in the Dallas Voice. Moralez confessed that he hit Wilkerson with a large wooden rod until “he didn’t move anymore.” Then Moralez said that he loaded up the corpse, drove the victim’s truck down to Fort Bend County, and attempted to burn the body. After torching Wilkerson’s remains, Moralez drove to a strip mall where he dumped Wilkerson’s shoes and backpack in a trash receptacle. When law enforcement officers discovered Wilkerson’s partially burned body, they found his hands and feet bound. Investigators also found a large amount of blood on the patio of Moralez’s home, and a large, bloody wooded rod nearby. The youths had been acquaintances at school for over five years, and at the time of the murder were classmates at the Pace Institute, an alternative education school. Wilkerson had offered Moralez a ride home from Pace, as school sources say he often did. The only account of a motive for the murder is from Moralez, who contends that Wilkerson “made a pass” at the older teen, which sparked the fight leading to the murder. ABC News 13 reports that Moralez was apprehended as he suspiciously hung around Wilkerson’s abandoned vehicle. At the time of his arrest, Moralez refused to give his full name or address to police. “The things that he said weren’t adding up,” said Pearland Police Officer Lt. Onesimo Lopez. “He gave the officers some false information and the decision was made at that time to take him into custody for failure to identify.” Under interrogation, Moralez admitted the murder, and lead the authorities to the overgrown roadside where he attempted to burn Wilkerson’s body. ABC News 13 also reports that Moralez attempted to grab a police officer’s pistol as he led the law enforcement officers into the area where the charred remains of his victim lay. As of this writing, Moralez is being held in a Pearland jail on $30,000 bond for the weapon offense. There has not yet been any bond placed on Moralez for the murder charge. While hate crimes charges have not been made in the case, which is still under investigation, the sexually charged allegations of the suspect, and his well-known homophobic attitude toward gay people make anti-gay hatred a possible motive for the homicide. Texas has a hate crime statute on the books including sexual orientation as a protected class, but police have been resistant to invoking the law, and conservative district attorneys have avoided using the hate crimes act in their prosecutions. A bill is pending in the Texas Legislature to mandate the use of the hate crimes law in cases such as this one, where homophobia is a possible motive. Wilkerson’s family has expressed thanks to searchers and law enforcement for the swift way the search was carried out. Pearland Independent School District released this statement to the press: “Pearland Independent School District has learned that a missing student has been found dead. PACE Center student Joshua Wilkerson disappeared after school on Tuesday, Nov. 16. The Pearland Police Department and Texas Equusearch volunteers launched a search in Pearland after Wilkerson’s parents reported his disappearance. The search ended when investigators discovered a body overnight believed to be Wilkerson. PACE Center is providing counselors to speak with students and staff today and as long as needed. Pearland ISD offers its deepest sympathy to Wilkerson’s family. ‘We will all miss Joshua. He was a polite, dedicated student. At school, he worked hard to accomplish his tasks, and each day he left with the same resolve to conquer any challenge that lay ahead,’ Julia Hall, PACE Center principal, said.” KHOU News 11 reports that members of Wilkerson’s family contend that Joshua was not gay. Officials now suspect that Moralez may have not acted alone, since someone put up a bogus Facebook page claiming to be Wilkerson after the time Moralez was taken into custody.