CommunityPam's House Blend

New Jersey prosecutor: not enough evidence for hate crime charge in student slaying

This is a follow up to a post from last September, “Is the Newark triple murder an anti-gay hate crime?”. At the time there was a call to investigate whether the execution-style slaying of Terrance Aeriel, 18, Dashon Harvey, 20, and Iofemi Hightower, 20, was motivated because of the orientation of one or more of the victims.

Leaders in the LGBT community as well as law enforcement have found that the families don’t want any part of a perception that their children might have been gay. This is just sad.

A New Jersey prosecutor last week said investigators have yet to find sufficient evidence to classify as a hate crime the execution-style slayings of three college students in a Newark schoolyard last August hours before they planned to attend a Gay Pride festival.

…Gay activists said representatives of the families of the victims have told them they did not support efforts to publicly identify the murders as an anti-gay hate crime.

“We were told that anything related to the victims’ sexual orientation should remain a private matter,” said James Credle, co-president of Newark Pride Alliance, a gay group. “They made it clear that they didn’t want the case to go in that direction,” he said.

Credle said speculation that the killings might be an anti-gay hate crime has been unsettling to many, including family members of the victims, in Newark’s large black community, where homosexuality remains a sensitive issue.

All of the victims in the slayings were black. Credle, whose Newark Pride Alliance advocates on behalf of black gays, said the group has been struggling to persuade city officials and the black community that authorities should determine whether the murders were based on the perception that the victims were gay, even if some were not.

“My concern is whether the prosecutor would consider the preference of the families to be political pressure or not,” Credle said after Thursday’s arraignment. “Because the families clearly don’t want this to be noted.”

How horrible a stain is black homophobia that families would not want to see the alleged killers of their children tried to face the maximum extent of the law rather than have anyone think their loved ones were gay.

Hat tip, Lena.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding