FBI monitoring possible Big Bend hate crime

Posted on 14 Dec 2009 at 10:03am

Towleroad is reporting that a Marfa man is organizing a rally tonight in support of the 18-year-old victim of the possible recent anti-gay hate crime in Texas’ Big Bend area. The rally will be at 6 p.m. in front of the Marfa courthouse, according to an e-mail the Marfa man sent to Towleroad. Marfa is in the county immediately west of Brewster County, where the crime occurred. The man who’s organizing the rally, James, notes that one of the suspects is being held on only $35,000 bond, meaning he’ll be released if he can post $3,500.

Meanwhile, despite four days worth of phone messages, I still haven’t heard back from Brewster County Sheriff Ronnie Dodson, whose office is investigating the case. I filed a request Friday under the Texas Open Records Act seeking documents related to the case. Dodson has 10 days to respond to my request. Also Friday, I left messages with the FBI to find out whether they’re aware of the crime, and it turns out they are. Remember, the hate crimes law passed in October allows the federal government to intervene in cases of anti-gay hate crimes. I received a return message this morning from Matthew Espenshade, supervising agent in the FBI’s Midland office. Here’s what Espenshade said:

“What I can say about it right now is that we are working with the Brewster County’s Sheriff’s Office, monitoring the situation, and determining whether there was any hate crime involved in the incident, if it would it would rise to that level. We’re now going to be making that determination along with the Department of Justice at some point here. We are aware of the situation and monitoring it and we’ll assist in any investigative measures that are appropriate.”

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