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Gay panic defense pays off for killer in Alabama

[Welcome Towleroad and Raw Story readers…]

What a f*cking outrage. Twenty-year-old animal Raymond Carlisle was convicted of the lesser charge of felony murder (as opposed to capital murder) in the brutal death of Sammie Speigner III, an adjunct professor of sociology at Birmingham Southern College.

His defense attorneys during the trial used the infamous “gay panic” defense, claiming Carlisle reacted “in the heat of passion” when Speigner “tried to homosexually assault him. Defense attorney Amber Ladner even compared the Speigner’s actions to that of a molester using a puppy to lure a young child. His attorneys were pleased by the light verdict.

Now, in the sentencing phase, Circuit Judge Clyde Jones gave Carlisle a mere 21 year sentence (one over the minimum). There is no justice in Alabama.

Carlisle should be eligible for parole in 10 years, said his attorney, Cynthia Umstead.

…Carlisle had testified that Speigner picked up Carlisle under the guise of wanting to buy marijuana, then tried to force the then-19-year-old to engage in sex with him.

Prosecutor Joe Roberts contended that Carlisle deserved the maximum sentence…

Carlisle was so “traumatized” by the encounter with Speigner that he killed the man, stole the professor’s credit card to buy beer, cigarettes and gasoline later in the day while joyriding with friends. Even worse, he rented the car to another friend and was finally arrested while smoking dope inside the car, which he had upfitted with a new tag and freshly tinted windows. G-ddamn.

Kathy @ Birmingham Blues:

…even though Raymond Carlisle pulled a gun, chased Prof. Speigner from his car, and then shot him when the Prof got back to his car and tried to drive away. Then Carlisle took Prof. Speigner’s wallet and his car and left him to bleed to death. Carlisle’s excuse? Why, gay panic, of course. And it worked, by God.


For a shining positive light in Alabama, see this post, Another brave ally speaks out, on a progressive Baptist pastor who has been an ally to the LGBT community and calls out the homophobia regarding the state’s upcoming marriage amendment vote.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding