All the assailants were convicted, and served various sentences in Texas for the crime. Because of Buice’s role in this particularly heinous anti-gay hate crime, he received the longest sentence, and is the only one of the Woodlands 10 still in prison. The case received national attention because of the brutality involved in Broussard’s cold blooded murder.
Buice, who has been described by his supporters as a “model prisoner,” was granted parole in July 2011, but because of new evidence presented to the Parole Board at the time, his reprieve was revoked before his release. That evidence has remained confidential to the board, but as in the case of his 2014 parole denial, whatever it was has kept him incarcerated. By special agreement, Buice will come up for review annually.
Broussard’s mother, Nancy Rodriguez, once again appeared before the board to encourage it not to grant parole to her son’s murderer. Every year, she travels from her Georgia home to Texas in order to keep Buice behind bars. “It’s something I do for my son’s memory and because I want justice,” Rodriguez said. Since 1992, Rodriguez has been aided by Victims Advocate Andy Kahan to ensure that Buice serves the majority of his sentence. In a statement to The Courier, Kahan said, “This was a particularly vicious, senseless crime that centered on hate. We appreciate the parole board taking the stand that convicted murders need to serve the majority of their sentence.” Rodriguez and Kahan have set a goal to keep Buice behind bars for at least 27 years: one year in prison for every year of Broussard’s lifetime. “That was Paul’s entire life before Buice took it from him,” Rodriguez said to The Courier.
Kahan pointed out to the Parole Board that it is rare for release to be granted to convicted killers before serving out the most of their sentences. He said that the savagery of the crime was the reason the board chose to deny parole this time. Buice has served 22 years so far.
Gay activist Ray Hill, a chief advocate for Buice’s release, contends that Buice is reformed, and that a 45-year sentence is too long for a person who was 17 at the time of the crime. Buice’s lawyer, Tim Habem, refused to discuss the arguments he presented for his client’s parole, but vowed to return next year “for another swing at it.”
Every Sunday, Nancy Rodriguez says she misses her son’s calls. Every Christmas, the holiday he always honored by coming home to see her, is especially hard. “[Paul] was a good student and a good son,” she said. “I just miss him.”
The murder victim, Dustin Reeb, aka Shaun Walsh, a well-known and highly respected member of the Dallas community theater community, was found in his Carrollton home by his housemate on Friday evening, brutally murdered. The scene prompted Reeb’s pastor, the Rev. Colleen Darraugh, to report that blood was spattered throughout the home, damaging clothing and furnishings, and requiring massive cleanup. Rev. Darraugh and the members of the Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas, a Carrollton congregation attended by both Reeb and his housemate, has organized a fund to help defray the costs of the cleanup and the purchase of new furniture. Darraugh told the Dallas Voice that knives were apparently used in the fatal attack.
A search of online court documents done by Dallas Voice reporters shows that Gehrer had been previously arrested for crimes such as trespassing, assault, and theft. He had lived at a series of addresses in Dallas, including an address on Cedar Springs Road, in the heart of the gay community.
The North Texas gay community still awaits answers to nagging questions about the motive for the murder, which has shaken Carrollton, but barely received any coverage in the regional or statewide press. The absence of this coverage prompts its own set of hard questions. The Rev. Ed Middleton, pastor of First Community United Church of Christ, posted a comment on the Dallas Voice Instant Tea blog noting that virtually no press coverage on this crime has gone on beyond the work done by the Voice. “Anyone wondering where the rest of the Dallas media is?” Middleton writes. “My God, they can spend five nights on the disapperance of some random person and drag the family before the cameras to get as many sobs as viewers can take, but let a basically good kid get savagely attacked and murdered and not a peep.” The Dallas Voice promises more revelations on this case by Friday.
Carrollton, Texas – The body of a savagely murdered 22-year-old gay man was found by his housemate in his home in this Dallas suburb on Friday. Police, who are classifying the investigation as a murder case, are not releasing his identity. The victim, known by his circle of friends, fellow church members, and work associates as “Shawn,” was found by Tony Adams who shared a home with him in the 2100 block of Placid Drive. Adams discovered the body upon returning home from work. According to the Dallas Voice, the victim was a well-regarded actor in the Dallas arts community, along with Adams.
“Shawn’s” identity has been complicated because he was known by a stage name he had assumed in the theater, and enjoyed using the name as his own in real life. As of Monday, it is not clear whether “Shawn’s” family has been contacted about the homicide.
Both Adams and the victim attended the Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas where Rev. Colleen Darraugh is the pastor. Pastor Darraugh is quoted by the Dallas Voice as saying that blood covered much of the house. “Evidently it was a brutal beating,” she said, intimating that knives may have been used in the fatal attack. The MCC of Greater Dallas is collecting money to help Adams with the crime-scene cleanup, and with replacing clothing and furnishings that were destroyed in the crime. In an email sent to congregational members and friends, Pastor Darraugh wrote, in part:
“Tony Adams Schmidt is a friend and colleague who some of you know through his work on sound and lighting at Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas and others know through his acting, directing, sound and lighting work in community theatre.
“We regret to share with you that Tony’s housemate, Shawn – whom many of you also know – was brutally killed in their home. The police are actively investigating to apprehend the culprits and to find the motive for this extreme violence.
“We share in grief at the death of Shawn and pray for his family and all of his friends.
“We surround Tony with love and support, praying for him as he deals with his grief and the shock of finding such a horrific scene.”
The email goes on to detail how donations can be made online to the church’s Benevolence Fund.
The nature of the murder, whether it was related to the victim’s sexual orientation, and how the murder gained access to the home are open questions for the LGBTQ community of Dallas and its surrounding suburbs. As the story unfolds, Unfinished Lives will continue to monitor police reports and the media to ensure this terrible crime does not disappear from the community’s sight.
Paris, Texas – Hate crimes charges were dropped against an East Texas man in the notoriously savage bashing of a gay man in Reno, a community in Lamar County, last Halloween weekend. The Paris News reports that Daniel Shawn Martin, 33, arrested along with two other suspects on November 1 for attacking 26-year old gay man, Burke Burnett on the night of October 30, 2011, is now free with all charges dropped. Martin contended that he was not present at the Halloween Party where Burnett was slashed and stabbed with a broken beer bottle, beaten, and then thrown bodily into a lit burn barrel while his assailants yelled anti-gay slurs. The Lamar County District Attorney, Gary Young, announced that all charges have been dropped against Martin.
KETR Radio reports that several witnesses came forward to corroborate Martin’s claim that he was not at the Reno party when Burnett was brutalized. Burnett himself affirmed that Martin was not a party to the assault that nearly cost him his life, leaving him with over 30 stitches and second-degree burns.
Two other suspects, James Mitchell Laster III and Mickey Smith, were found guilty of carrying out the homophobic attack, and are now serving prison terms.
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.