Trial begins for one of two men charged in the murder of openly gay Ryan Keith Skipper
February 17, 2009
Opening testimony began yesterday at Florida's Polk County Courthouse in the murder trial of Joseph Bearden, one of two men charged with the robbery and death of Ryan Keith Skipper, a 25-year-old gay Florida man who was brutally killed in a 2007 murder that has rallied LGBT and community advocates to again call for justice in anti-LGBT hate crimes. The second defendant, William David Brown Jr., will be tried separately. You can read the horrific details of Ryan Skipper's death here. Despite the evidence that Skipper was targeted due to his sexuality, local LGBT rights activists who immediately rushed to support Skipper's parents, Lynn and Pat Mulder, have been advised not to be a "conspicious presence" in and around the courtroom during the trial, as reported by
While Florida does have a state hate crime law that covers sexual orientation, the law does not explicitly address gender/gender identity-based violence or other similar issues.
Issues: Hate Crimes
May 21, 2013