Friday, January 13, 2006

alabama's not all bad, but.....

I hate to do this, since the last I-hate-Alabama's-homophobia post garnered a response from one of my relatives who has lived in Alabama, saying it was unfair to judge the entire state by some douchebags who can't deal with homosexuals, but...I can't ignore this.
And I'm not saying that this means that all Alabamans are bad, but...shit. The gay rights kids down there have a lot to work on. Homophobia - and violence motivated by it - is far too accepted down there.

Found this story via Pam Spaulding at Pandagon:
You know that "gay panic" bullshit defense that I assumed was hardly accepted as legitimiate anymore?
Turns out it still works its magic in some of our more heavily-inundated-with-overt-homophobes states. Like Alabama.

The story:
A Jefferson County jury convicted Raymond Carlisle of a reduced charge Thursday in the February shooting and robbery of a professor who had picked him up wanting gay sex.

Carlisle, 20, was charged with capital murder in the Feb. 17 shooting death of Sammie Speigner III, an adjunct professor of sociology at Birmingham Southern College.

Ok, the charge seems fair enough, the murder was obviously in cold blood -- where's the problem here?
Oh, right, the victim was gay.

Defense attorneys Amber Ladner and Cynthia Umstead contended the defendant, 19 at the time, reacted in the heat of passion when the 37-year-old victim tried to homosexually assault him.

First, why is "homosexually assult" different from "sexual assault"? Sexual assault is sexual assault.
If that's even what happened in this case. Which I'm not sure I believe. Which brings me to my second point:
Carlisle did not go to the police with his accusation of sexual assault. He did not simply run away, or escape. He: a) shot the victim as he was running away, b) took the victim's car, wallet, and checkbook c) used the victim's credit cards to party with friends, and d) let his buddy use the car for a couple days.
And as much as I loathe blaming the victim in sexual assault cases, these actions speak a hell of a lot more to gay-hatin' cold-blooded murder and robbery than to the reaction of a man who had just been sexually assaulted.

"He was not road kill," Roberts [the prosecuting attorney] told jurors. "Despite what he did in his private life, Sammie Speigner's life had value. He was shot, robbed and dumped into the street bleeding to death like an animal."

The jury refused to find him guilty of the capital murder charge, which would have gotten Carlisle either life in prison or a death sentence. Instead, they found him guilty of the lesser charge of felony murder, "saying after the verdict they believed the shooting was incidental to the robbery, and not intentional."
"Not intentional," my ass.

Oh, and it gets better. The homophobia's just oozing in this one:

In her closing argument, Ladner compared Speigner's actions to that of a molester using a puppy to lure a young child.

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