Austin police release mug shot of alleged attacker

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Mug shot of Tony Fera (courtesy Austin Police Department)

Austin police have released the mug shot of the man arrested in the attack of Andy Smith, a Texas Instruments executive from Dallas.

The man is Tony Fera, 51. Austin Business Journal identifies him president of MidStar Energy, a Houston oil company. His bail was set at $5,000.

—  David Taffet

Trans woman attacked in NY subway

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Surveillance cameras caught footage of the suspect in a possible anti-trans hate crime digging a plastic bottle out of a subway trash can before throwing the bottle at a trans woman and then pushing her onto the tracks.

A New York transgender woman was treated for cuts and bruises after being pushed onto the train tracks in a subway station near Greenwich Village, according to NBC Channel 4 in New York. Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

According to reports, the man who pushed the 28-year-old woman was “acting erratically.” Witnesses said he approached the victim and asked, “What are you looking at?” He then ran to a nearby trash can, pulled out an empty plastic bottle and threw it at the woman. He then went back to the woman and pushed her onto the train tracks.

Surveillance video, from which the screen grab above was taken, shows the man running to the trash can to dig out the plastic bottle.

Thankfully, the victim in this instance suffered no serious injuries. But it is clear evidence that even as celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner are bringing the world’s attention to bear on the trans community and in doing so, hopefully, making the world a better, safer place for trans women and men, the hatred and violence against transgender people continues.

As Laverne Cox said in a Tumblr post yesterday (June 2):

“Most trans folks don’t have the privileges Caitlyn and I have now have. It is those trans folks we must continue to lift up, get them access to healthcare, jobs, housing, safe streets, safe schools and homes for our young people. We must lift up the stories of those most at risk, statistically trans people of color who are poor and working class. I have hoped over the past few years that the incredible love I have received from the public can translate to the lives of all trans folks. Trans folks of all races, gender expressions, ability, sexual orientations, classes, immigration status, employment status, transition status, genital status etc.. I hope, as I know Caitlyn does, that the love she is receiving can translate into changing hearts and minds about who all trans people are as well as shifting public policies to fully support the lives and well being of all of us. The struggle continues…”

—  Tammye Nash

U.S. Marine charged with murder of transwoman in Philippines

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Prosecutors in the Phillipine Islands today (Monday, Dec. 15) charged a U.S. Marine in the October murder of a transwoman.

According to the Associated Press, Prosecutor Emilie de los Santos found “probable cause” that Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton attacked Jennifer Laude after learning she was trans. He has been in custody since shortly after the October incident.

“It’s murder,” de los Santos said after filing the charge against the 19-year-old Pemberton. “It was aggravated by treachery, abuse of superior strength and cruelty.”

Pemberton will not be allowed to post bail, she said. Murder is punishable by up to 40 years in jail, reported The Guardian.

“This is not an ordinary murder. This is heinous because she was beaten up,” the Laude family lawyer, Harry Roque, told reporters.

Pemberton and friends met Laude and other woman the night of the murder. According to witnesses, Pemberton and Laude checked into a motel, and Pemberton fled after he killed Laude.

Marine Lance Corporal Jairn Michael Rose was among those with Pemberton that night. He told prosecutors Pemberton admitted to the murder back at their ship.

“I think I killed a he/she,” Pemberton said, according to Rose.

The incident reignited a debate between the Philippines and the United States regarding custody of U.S. military personnel accused of crimes in the Phillipines. U.S. officials evenutally agreed to move Pemberton from custody aboard a U.S. Navy vessel into the custody of Phillipino officials.

The case is a haunting reminder to transgender activists of the case of  U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, who was sentenced to 40 years in jail in 2006 after being found guilty of raping a transwoman. He was, however, acquitted in 2009 after his accuser recanted her statement.

—  James Russell

Jon Buice again denied parole in 1991 gay bashing murder

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Jon Christopher Buice

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted today, Tuesday, Oct. 21, to once again deny convicted killer Jon Christopher Buice’s request for parole.Buice, now 40 years old, was one of 10 men — ranging in age at the time from 16 to 22 — convicted of the 1991 murder of Paul Broussard, a Houston gay man who was beaten and stabbed to death after leaving a gay bar in the Montrose neighborhood on July 4.

It was Broussard’s murder that prompted then-Texas Gov. Ann Richards to call a special session of the Texas Legislature to pass the state’s first hate crimes law in 1993.

Andy Kahan, a victim advocate for the city of Houson, said Tuesday, “Since Jon made the deliberate conscious effort to deprive Paul of his life, all we can do in return is to deprive him of his liberty and today we at least accomplished that for another year.”

Dallas Voice is waiting for comments from Broussard’s mother, Nancy Rodriguez, who was worked diligently since her son’s death to see his killers convicted, and to keep Buice in jail.

Buice, who admitted at trial that he was the one that inflicted the stab wound that actually killed Broussard, was sentenced to 45 years in prison. He was denied parole in 2007 and in 2009. In 2011, the Board of Pardons and Parole initially granted Buice’s request for parole but then reversed its decision following an outcry by the LGBT community and Rodriguez.

Buice’s was denied parole again in 2012, 2013 and today. Raymond Estrada, spokesman for the Board of Pardons and Paroles, said the reason given for denying parole was “the nature of the offense.” He said Buice is up for review again on Oct. 1, 2015.

—  Tammye Nash

UPDATE: ’666′ graffiti widespread in neighborhood

Legacy graffiti

Dallas Police Det. Laura Martin, DPD’s liaison to the LGBT community, said Monday morning that a detective has been assigned to investigate all cases related to graffiti “tagging” done at a number of locations in Oak Lawn early on Saturday morning. The number “666″ — a number linked to Satan through the Book of Revelations in the Christian Bible where it is called “the mark of the Beast” — was spray-painted onto the base of the Legacy of Love monument on Oak Lawn Avenue at Cedar Springs Road, onto the driveway at two different parking lot entrances at Cathedral of Hope UCC and at a building on Oak Lawn at Maple Avenue that houses, among other businesses, the Dallas Observer.

There have also been reports that the “mark of the Beast” was spray-painted onto the Cedar Springs Road bridge over the North Dallas Tollway, on buildings at a housing development on Lucas Street and onto at least two Dallas Voice magazine racks.

Martin said police are looking into the possibility the graffiti is part of a hate crime. Police are holding a media briefing at 2 p.m. today regarding the incidents, so stay tuned for more information.

—  Tammye Nash

UPDATE: Police investigating hate as possible motive for graffiti as more taggings found

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Det. Kevin Janse at Dallas Police headquarters

Dallas Police are looking into hate as a possible motive for graffiti found early Sunday around Oak Lawn on buildings housing print media offices.

The Legacy of Love Monument and Cathedral of Hope were targeted by taggers with “666” in red spray paint. The Cedar Springs bridge over the tollway was also tagged, as were at least two Dallas Voice distribution boxes.

Chris Kelley, spokesman for Cathedral of Hope, said the church was tagged in two places — on its sign along the street and in the parking lot. By Sunday afternoon, the paint at Cathedral and on the monument had been removed by volunteers.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Observer and D magazine buildings were also tagged. Ironically, the building housing Dallas Voice was not touched.

Det. Kevin Janse said police have no leads but hope as word spreads about the graffiti, someone will come forward and provide some clues. He said he hopes whoever did this will start bragging about it when he sees the coverage it’s getting and someone will contact police with a lead.

The spray painting occurred late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Janse said police checked video from the Exxon station on Oak Lawn Avenue, but its video did not catch activity at the Observer building across the street.

Officer W.C. Humphrey, who attended the press conference, told Dallas Voice that graffiti is not uncommon, but the particular “666” message at the specific sites is unusual.

Janse said anyone with information about these or additional taggings should contact Dallas LGBT police liaison Laura Martin at 214-490-0541.

Legacy graffiti

—  David Taffet

Springtown man indicted on federal hate crime charges for gay man’s assault

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Brice Johnson

A Springtown man who allegedly lured a gay man to his home through a social media app has been indicted on federal hate crime charges for the man’s assault.

Brice Johnson, 19, was indicted Wednesday on charges of kidnapping and “willfully causing bodily injury to a person because of the actual or perceived sexual orientation of that person,” according to a news release from U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Texas.

Johnson started chatting with Arron Keahey on the MeetMe app over Labor Day weekend. The two discussed sex and Johnson invited him over. When he arrived, Keahey was brutally beaten.

A criminal complaint back in February when Johnson was brought up on federal charges explains that Johnson put him in the back of a car and drove him to a friend’s house. Johnson’s friends later convinced him to take Keahey to the hospital, where he spent 10 days recovering from brain trauma and broken bones.

Johnson initially told Springtown police he found Keahey outside his house and took him to the hospital. He later told police he assaulted him after blacking out.

Johnson was originally charged with a state felony for aggravated assault.

In a recorded jail conversation to family, Johnson, who had Keahey listed in his cell phone as “fagg bagg,” said he invited Keahey over and it was “basically a joke that went too far and too wrong. I invited him over because he was a fag or whatever.”

The trial is set to begin June 20. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

—  Dallasvoice

Teen charged in brutal Springtown beating to be tried under federal hate crime law

Hate-Crime

Arron Keahey

Federal prosecutors plan to try the teen who nearly killed a gay Dallas man last year under the federal hate crime law, according to The Associated Press.

Brice Johnson, 19, allegedly attacked and beat Arron Keahey after meeting him on the mobile app MeetMe over Labor Day weekend in Springtown, a small town about 70 miles west of Dallas in Parker County.

Keahey, who lived in Dallas at the time, suffered severe injuries, including nerve damage and a shattered eye socket.

Johnson was later arrested for aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, a second-degree felony, which police investigated as a hate crime. He faces 10 years in prison if convicted under the federal hate crime law.

Johnson’s trial is slated to begin in late March.

—  Dallasvoice

Dallas hate crime victim brutally beaten starts fund for medical bills

Hate-Crime

Editor’s note: The pictures below are graphic and may not be suitable for young readers.

Arron Keahey, the victim of a brutal beating over Labor Day weekend, has started a GoFundMe account to help cover his medical bills.

Keahey, who lived in Dallas a time, was in Springtown, a small town about 70 miles west of Dallas in Parker County, visiting family for the weekend. He went to a man’s house after meeting him on the social app MeetMe and was attacked when he arrived.

Keahey’s injuries included brain trauma, nerve damage and broken facial bones. He had to have facial reconstruction surgery and has a metal eye socket now. His goal on the site is to raise $10,000.

Brice Johnson, 19, was arrested for aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, a second-degree felony, which Springtown police are investigating as a hate crime.

If prosecutors seek a hate crime enhancement under state law to a first-degree felony, he could face five years to life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine, according to the Texas Penal Code.

Keahey writes on the site:

“My name is Arron Keahey, and I was recently lured and ambushed, beaten to almost an inch of my life, after meeting someone on a social app, because I am gay. I had to have facial reconstructive surgery, had brain trauma as well as memory loss, and am having problems with anxiety and depression. I am having to start my life over, and I am needing help for medical bills, as well as everyday expenses and buying a car. Any donation to me will be truly appreciated, and I cannot thank you enough for your support.

“Even if you do not have the resources to donate, please at least share this article and spread the word of what happened. I truly believe that the more problems like this in this country are talked about, the less it will happen and the closer we will be to a solution.”

Photos of Keahey after the attack are below.

—  Dallasvoice

Jon Buice denied parole in gay Houston man’s 1991 murder

Jon BuiceNot surprisingly, Jon Buice will stay behind bars for at least another year.

Buice is the only remaining assailant out of the 10 teens who beat up and killed Paul Broussard in 1991 in an anti-gay attack in Houston’s Montrose area.

While he was granted parole two years ago, the decision was later reversed. Since then, efforts by his attorney and gay activist Ray Hill have ramped up to help him be released. Broussard’s mother and Houston victim advocate Andy Kahan have pushed for Buice to remain in jail at least 27 years, the age Broussard was when he was murdered.

Statewide advocacy group Equality Texas has supported the efforts to keep Buice in prison.  So have many LGBT-friendly state lawmakers.

—  Dallasvoice