National Briefs

Posted on 04 Jan 2007 at 7:12pm
By Staff and Wire Reports

Seattle man convicted of murdering man he met on a gay chat line

SEATTLE A Seattle man who grew up in Montana has been convicted of fatally beating and stabbing a business owner whose body was found wrapped in blankets in his red Porsche, although the jury couldn’t decide on a motive.

Michael Saga Maiava, 24, was convicted Tuesday, Jan. 2, of first-degree murder following slightly more than a day of deliberations in King County Superior Court. He faces as much as 34 years in prison for the attack on Kevin Shaw, 44, who ran an executive recruiting service, invested in a home-building business and had worked for several accounting firms.

A native of Billings, Mont., Shaw attended Gonzaga University in Spokane and moved to Seattle in the early 1980s. His body was found in his car on Oct. 21, 2004.

Prosecutors said the two men apparently met on a telephone chat line for gays shortly before Shaw was attacked with an ice pick or similar device. During a month long trial, Deputy Prosecutor Jeffrey B. Baird said that in terms of a motive, “it appears that the act of killing was its own reward.”

Defense lawyer Julie Lawry suggested that Maiava may have been defending himself during a fight, but jurors said they were not convinced that the heavyset defendant would have had to resort to deadly force against the smaller and slimmer business operator.

Jurors said that whatever the reason for the killing, DNA and telephone records clearly pointed to Maiava.

“We couldn’t really come to a conclusion about motive,” jury forewoman Christelle Creekmore said. “It’s just unfortunate for everybody.”

Former N.J. governor’s portrait unveiled more than 2 years after his resignation

TRENTON, N.J. More than two years after his stunning public declaration that he was gay and would resign, former Gov. James McGreevey took part Tuesday, Dec. 26 in a private ceremony to unveil his portrait in his old Statehouse office.

The event brought McGreevey to the Statehouse for first time since he left office in November 2004, three years into his first term. He was joined by his parents, his partner, a former secretary and by Gov. Jon S. Corzine. Several of the current governor’s staffers also attended. The timing and nature of the event had been complicated by the circumstances of McGreevey’s departure. The $25,000 painting has been in storage for more than a year, and a private ceremony was at one time planned to occur this summer.

McGreevey’s portrait hangs among those of other former governors in Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s outer office. Portraits of former governors hang throughout the Statehouse; the pictures of more recent governors are displayed in the outer office.

The delay with McGreevey’s portrait had also delayed the hanging of the portrait of his successor, Gov. Richard J. Codey.

Lambertville mayor plans to start officiating at gay unions in N.J. as soon as possible

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. This town laden with antique shops and inns on the banks of the Delaware River has long been a place known for its friendliness to gay and lesbian couples.

That’s one reason the mayor, David Del Vecchio, is preparing to officiate a civil union ceremony for a gay couple as soon as such unions become legal.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed a law last month making New Jersey the third state in the nation to offer civil unions, which give gay couples all the benefit and protections of marriage that the state can confer but not the title.

Del Vecchio said two women from his community he would not identify them are ready to exchange their vows at 12:01 a.m. the first day they can. Nathan Rudy, a spokesman for the state Department of Health and Senior Services, said the earliest day would be Feb. 22. Couples can begin applying for civil licenses on Feb. 19, but, as with marriage licenses, there will be a 72-hour waiting period.

Del Vecchio said allowing civil unions is “the right thing to do.” There’s another reason to be first, though: publicizing Lambertville as a destination for the ceremonies.

“Ultimately, this could be important economic engine for us,” he said.

A stroke-of-midnight civil union ceremony would ensure Lambertville is at least tied for being the first place in New Jersey to hold such a ceremony that’s state-sanctioned. Ceremonies could happen simultaneously elsewhere.

Other towns that known for being especially gay-friendly include South Orange, which opened City Hall at midnight on the day in 2004 when couples were first allowed to enter into domestic partnerships, and Asbury Park, where an official performed a wedding between two men before the state Attorney General declared that union invalid.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, January 5, 2007.

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