Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Four-Year-Old Boy Murdered Because His Mom Thought He Was “Gay”

Jessica Dutro (l), and boyfriend Brian Canady "systematically tortured" and killed her 4-year-old she believed was "gay."

Jessica Dutro (l), and boyfriend Brian Canady “systematically tortured” and killed her 4-year-old she believed was “gay.”

Hillsboro, Oregon – An Oregon mother was found guilty by a Washington County Circuit Court for the murder of her four-year-old-son she thought was gay.  Gay Star News reports that it took a jury less than two hours yesterday to convict Jessica Dutro for the August 2012 beating death of her child, Zachary Dutro-Boggess.  Dutro showed no emotion as the verdict was read.  She was found guilty of murder and five counts of murder by abuse and one count of second-degree assault.  The little boy’s intestines were torn in two places by the brutal beating his mother and her boyfriend, Brian Canady, inflicted on him, but the couple allowed the child to suffer for two days before calling 911 to get him some help.  As the toxic contents of his bowels had leaked into his body, Dutro had searched the internet for sex online and anger management classes, according to Oregonlive.com. Zachary was dying as he was transported to a Portland Hospital where he was put on life-support until he died on August 16.

Brian Canady had pled guilty in a pre-arranged plea deal to testify against Dutro.  He admitted to kicking Zachary.  Canady will serve 12-and-a-half years in prison for first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault.

The evidence against Dutro for the slaying of her young son was damning.  Prosecutors shared Facebook messages with the court that detailed her loathing for gay people in general and her fear that her child was going to grow up to be one.  In one message, she demanded that Canady “work on” Zachary for being gay.  In another, after using a homophobic slur in reference to her child, she wrote, “He walks and talks like it.  Ugh.”  

Undoubtedly, the most damaging evidence against Dutro came from her own seven-year-old daughter.  The little girl, speaking to a counselor, said (in reference her mother and her boyfriend, Canady), “They beat my brother up, and he died. I seen them.”  Prosecutors presented evidence during the trial showing “systematic torture and abuse” used by the couple as “discipline” against Zachary, his sister, and his three-year-old brother. Zachary’s siblings were covered in bruises, and the three-year-old boy was found to have five cracked ribs.

Jessica Dutro’s sentencing has been scheduled for April 18.

April 4, 2014 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Child abuse, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, Oregon, Slurs and epithets | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Four-Year-Old Boy Murdered Because His Mom Thought He Was “Gay”

3 Gay Oregon Men in Costume Attacked on Hallowe’en Night

Two of the costumes worn by gay bashing victims of Portland, Oregon hate crime attack on Hallowe'en night [KATU photo].

Two of the costumes worn by gay bashing victims of Portland, Oregon hate crime attack on Hallowe’en night [KATU photo].

Portland, Oregon – Three gay men dressed in female costumes were savagely attacked in Portland on Hallowe’en, according to KATU News 2, the ABC news affiliate.  The trio say that the assault was motivated by anti-gay bias, since it was proceeded by a flurry of homophobic epithets. Dustin Miller, Joey Malone, and Curtis Hughes, friends who were looking for Hallowe’en fun, took great care in their drag costumes for the evening, one portraying Snow White and another Anna Nicole Smith–but the fun turned violent when a gang of five men started hurling anti-gay slurs at them as they walked along the Portland waterfront.

The Advocate reports that the gay men were beaten, dragged by their hair, and threatened with a knife.  Malone, who lost a tooth in the attack, said one of the assailants slashed at his stomach and his head with a knife, intending to stab him.  “He swung it at my stomach and then swung it back up at my face,” Malone said.  In a defensive move, Malone kicked off the stiletto heels he was wearing, and used them to back the attackers off.

In their interview with KATU, the three men vividly recalled the chaos and fear they felt as their assailants pressed their assault:

“I was on the ground and they reached over and punched him in the face.”

“All I saw was blood all over his mouth.”

“I was in shock. I felt my tooth go into my tongue and I spit it out onto the ground.”

“All I remember is hearing somebody yell there was a knife.”

“He swung it at my stomach and then swung it back up at my face.”

Hughes, Malone, and Miller recount their harrowing assault.

Hughes, Malone, and Miller recount their harrowing assault.

A passing cyclist aided the victims, and the gang of attackers ran from the scene, leaving the trio scarred, bruised, and shaken, but thankful they were not injured more seriously from the sudden, savage assault.  Hundreds from the community have responded with messages of support and comfort to the victims, and have donated money to help with medical expenses.  In one overwhelming expression of generosity, a local dentist replaced Malone’s broken tooth with a temporary replacement, and pledged to complete the permanent dental replacement later.

Hughes, Malone, and Miller reported the attack as an anti-gay hate crime, but they are not optimistic about anyone being apprehended and charged in the case.  They understand that their costumes were provocative, and that some might not appreciate their taste, but they never imagined that irrational hatred could turn the evening so brutal.  All three gay men are clear, however, that nothing they did provoked the attack, and they are determined to remain strong and proud in their gender presentations and identities.  As Malone told EDGE Boston, they are not going to let this experience change who they are, “Not even for a second.”

November 7, 2013 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, Oregon, Slashing attacks, Slurs and epithets, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Oregon’s “Pink Poodle” Gay Bashing Draws Federal Hate Crime Charges

Gay Bashing victim David Beltier (l), partner Jeremy Mark (r), and their poodle Beauty.

Gay Bashing victim David Beltier (l), partner Jeremy Mark (r), and their poodle Beauty.

Hillsboro, Oregon – A bizarre anti-gay crime case at a busy highway street crossing has attracted national attention as Federal prosecutors issued hate crimes charges against a man whose homophobic rage was sparked by the sight of a pink poodle.  The assailant, George Mason Jr., 22, was charged this week with a violation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act for attacking a gay man with a heavy bolt cutter and screaming anti-gay slurs during a peaceful, midday stroll with his boyfriend and their pink-dyed poodle on March 1.  Multiple witnesses say Mason shouted slurs at the gay couple from his SUV, did a U turn, raced back to the intersection, and allegedly attacked David Beltier with his fists and the bolt cutter. Beltier sustained blows to the upper arm, and to the back of his head.  The assault could very nearly have cost Beltier his life.

Portland, Oregon court documents record the hate crime in legal language, but preserve the horror of the assault, coming from a complete stranger: “(Mason) willfully caused bodily injury and, through the use of a dangerous weapon, attempted to cause bodily injury to (Beltier), who is gay, because of (Beltier’s) actual and perceived sexual orientation.”  The Associated Press, in a story carried by the Columbus (IN) Republic, also reports that Mason faces Oregon state charges including second-degree intimidation, second-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon, and reckless driving. The intimidation charge is a bias-motivation charge in the Oregon state code. Mason’s wife, Saraya Gardner, who was in Mason’s vehicle at the time of the attack, has also been charged in the case for obstructing justice.

George Mason Jr.  Alleged gay basher enraged by the sight of a pink poodle.

George Mason Jr. Alleged gay basher enraged by the sight of a pink poodle.

In an interview in Komonews.com, Beltier and his partner, Jeremy Mark, recounted that they were crossing the street with their pink-dyed poodle, Beauty, when the attack occurred.  Beauty, explained Beltier and Mark, had been harmlessly dyed pink with Kool-Aid for a bit of pre-Easter fun, and to match their two other pastel-dyed dogs. The sight of the pink poodle proved too much for Mason, who screamed profanities at the couple from his moving vehicle.  The intersection was filled with witnesses who blared their horns in protest of the attacker.  Beltier credits the witnesses with saving his life.  “If I didn’t hear all the other people honking, all the people seeing what was going on, he could have probably severely hurt me, maybe even killed me right there and then,” he said.  The New York Daily News reports Mark’s account of the slurs Mason hurled at his boyfriend. “[Mason] was saying, “Your poodle is a weird color and that’s just un-American” and “f— you, you f–s” and shouting,” Mark said.

Beltier then picked up the story for Komo News: “After that, [Mason] turns around, he goes back to his car, runs back to his car and brings out this long wrench-looking crowbar tool or something like that, and he comes back after me.”  Mason then struck Beltier on the upper arm and in the back of the head. Beltier’s boyfriend was frantic with fear for his lover’s life.  “I just couldn’t believe it,” said Mark. “I was shouting at the guy to stop. There’s no need for violence. There’s nothing to provoke him. … I was fearing for his life.”

As Mason raced away from the scene of the crime, witnesses tried to block his vehicle, and one witness took off after him, capturing Mason’s license plate number.  The information led to the arrest of Mason and his wife, Gardner.

Though officials advised the gay couple to eliminate the bright pink color from his pet’s fur, Beltier and Mark remain adamant.  They say that they did nothing wrong, and they are not going to let fear dictate their lives.  They just allowed Beauty’s fur to grow out naturally over time.

 

June 28, 2013 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Bludgeoning, FBI, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, Matthew Shepard Act, Oregon, Pink poodle, Slurs and epithets, U.S. Justice Department | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Oregon’s “Pink Poodle” Gay Bashing Draws Federal Hate Crime Charges

Gay Teen, Threatened By Bullies, Hangs Himself in Oregon School Playground

Jadin Bell, 15, driven to suicide by anti-gay bullies.

Jadin Bell, 15, driven to suicide by anti-gay bullies.

La Grande, Oregon – A 15-year-old gay teen who attempted suicide after being harassed  by bullies on the internet was removed from life support late last week.  Anti-gay bullying, which the young Jadin Bell faced for years, has been identified by his friends as the prime cause of his act of desperation.

Bell, a sophomore at La Grande High School, hanged himself from a playground structure at Central Elementary School, according to KATU News.  A quick response from a passer-by rescued him. The youth was rushed to a local hospital and placed on life support.  Hill was then transferred to a major Portland trauma center, where he had been clinging to life until the family determined that further heroic efforts to keep him breathing were in vain.

The La Grande community rallied to support Bell and his family with a vigil on January 25 which was attended by over 200 people, many of whom had great memories and good things to say about the gifted youth who loved cheerleading, and volunteered at a senior citizen’s care facility.  But the undertone of the vigil was a mixture of frustration and denial–frustration that a second young person had fallen prey to bullying (a 16-year-old girl had taken her life in La Grande earlier in the year), and denial of the overarching reason Jadin Bell had hanged himself: anti-gay bullying.  No mention of the anti-gay harassment Hill suffered on the internet and in person was made in the reportage surrounding the vigil, even though the cause was well known throughout the town of 13,000 in Northeastern Oregon.

In a Skype interview, Bud Hill, a friend and mentor of Bell, told KATU reporters that the family considers anti-gay bullying the aggravating issue in their son’s suicide.  Hill, who has vowed to start a foundation in Jadin Bell’s memory, said that the youth’s sensitivity and kindness made him a target to school toughs.  “He was different, and they tend to pick on the different ones,” Hill said.

Bell had avoided confronting his harassers, saying to his family that making their hateful attacks on him public would only make his torment worse.  But in recent days, the family says, Bell had gone to school officials to complain of the verbal assaults on his sexual orientation.  The superintendent had initiated an investigation into Bell’s allegations, which was proceeding at the time of the suicide attempt.

“Driven to suicide”: the phrase rolls too easily off the tongue.  The horror of the loss of Jadin Bell is that he is one of so many.  Every town and city in the nation is susceptible to become the next La Grande.  The time to stop the homophobic violence preying on the youth of the nation is now, not after it is too late.

The Trevor Helpline operates the nation’s only 24/7 suicide and crisis hotline for gay and questioning youth. Don’t wait any longer.  Call the Trevor Helpline: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386).

January 29, 2013 Posted by | gay teens, GLBTQ, harassment, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ, LGBTQ suicide, Oregon, suicide, Trevor Project, Vigils | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lesbian Youth Activist Attacked in Downtown Portland

Kayla Stone, bashed on the streets of Portland (Just Out image)

Portland, Oregon – A 21-year-old musician and LGBTQ youth activist was brutally assaulted July 3 in what Portland Police are calling a bias-motivated crime.  Most concerning to the local LGBTQ community is that Kayla Stone appealed for help, and initially got none.  Stone, who plays guitar and sings for a local art gallery and for a home offering services to queer and transitional youth, is well-known in the LGBTQ scene in Portland.  She reported to Just Out that the night before the violence, she had performed at a local club when a group of Latinos menaced her as she left the venue, followed her for three blocks down the street, and called her an epithet.  Stone denounced the group, verbally defending herself, and they went away. The next night, on Sunday, sometime between 1 and 2:30 am, as she came back to the area to meet her date, the same group attacked her without provocation as soon as they recognized who she was. The assault was swift and brutal, and the shaken lesbian remembers little about the violence except the description of the first man to punch her in the face.  He had a teardrop tattoo underneath one of his eyes, Stone recalls.  But though the whole group struck out at her, leaving her face a bloody wreck, she fought back and refused to fall to the ground.  As she related to Just Out, “It was really intense for me, because it was like, wow, even though Rosa Parks is dead, these people that stood up against prejudice and racism are dead, I’m not. And I feel very thankful to not be. Because with how many people there were that night, I can’t believe I didn’t go down on my knees.”

When her assailants backed off and left her standing, Stone limped to The Escape, an all-ages gay bar, for help. Though there were witnesses to the assault who saw the whole attack, none of them offered to help or call police.  Stone says that in the aftermath of the attack, while she was struggling to get to The Escape, two police cruisers passed her by, and though she was obviously bloody and unsteady from being bashed, the officers did not help her.  Only when someone at the bar called 911, did police respond to her situation. Stone was taken to a hospital, but refused to be stitched up for fear that her injuries would be minimized by the authorities if she let Emergency Room personnel finish their treatment.  Instead, she asked a friend to take photos of the cuts, bruises, and lacerations she received from her bashers. Stone is a committed activist who is no stranger to discrimination. Reflecting on her assault, she says that being targeted for anti-LGBTQ hate crimes is part of the cost of being different. “I’m not trying to justify anything that occurs, but the point is that the revolution is not glamorous,” Stone said. “It means continuing to do what you say you’re going to do no matter what.”

Portland’s LGBTQ community has suffered a rash of gay and queer bashings in recent weeks. Two gay men were assaulted near the Hawthorne Bridge, and a Newport man was beaten as he tried to stop a an anti-gay attack.  The Stone case is now being treated as an anti-gay crime by Portland police, though the lack of evidence and witnesses agreeing to testify hamper the investigation. Courage and commitment to change homophobic and heterosexist patterns in society, like that exhibited by brave Kayla Stone, may yet break the cycle of violence against sexual minorities in the Portland area.

July 13, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, gay bashing, Gender Variant Youth, GLBTQ, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Latinos, Law and Order, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Oregon, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Queer, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, transgender persons, transphobia, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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