The Texas Independent reports that State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, a longtime LGBT ally, is asking the Board of Pardons and Paroles to reverse its recent decision granting parole to Jon Buice, convicted in the brutal murder of gay Houston banker Paul Broussard in 1991. Buice has served only 20 years of his 45-year sentence.
Coleman told the Texas Independent that the “heinous nature of the crime” and the fact that Buice and his friends were deliberately targeting people leaving a gay club, guided him to fight Buice’s parole each time it has come before the board since 2003.
“This was Matthew Shepard before there was Matthew Shepard,” Coleman said, a refrain often invoked about Broussard’s murder, which predated hate-crime legislation in Texas by a decade.
“Switch the circumstances, say it was a guy who came in from Conroe and went out and started hunting black people to kill. Most people would be outraged,” Coleman said, “or if it was a group of black people.”
To read Rep. Coleman’s full letter to the parole board, go here. Equality Texas is asking people to join Coleman by writing their own letters to the parole board. For a guide on what to write, read Equality Texas’ letter here. Broussard’s mother, Nancy Rodriguez, has requested that she be copied on all letters at Nrodriguez5257@att.net. The letters should be emailed to the following people:
Rissie Owens, Presiding Officer, Board of Pardons and Paroles: Rissie.email@example.com
Victims Services Division, Texas Department of Criminal Justice: Victim.firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles Shipman (voted in favor of parole), Parole Commissioner: Charles.email@example.com
Marsha Moberly (voted in favor of parole), Parole Commissioner: Marsha.Moberley@tdcj.state.tx.us