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

Janse.Kevin

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

Brice-Johnson

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.

—  Anna Waugh

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.

—  Anna Waugh

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.

—  Anna Waugh

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.

—  Anna Waugh

WATCH: Trans homecoming shakeup, Springtown hate crime on ‘Agenda’

Picture 30

We’re a little late bringing you the CW33’s “Gay Agenda” from last week. But in the installment, Doug Magditch touches on the Springtown hate crime, a Russian lawmaker who thinks gays rape children and a Pennsylvania school that won’t allow a transgender teen to run for homecoming king.

The latter is partially upsetting after California teen Cassidy Lynn Campbell was named homecoming queen recently.

Watch it below.

—  Anna Waugh

Springtown man nearly killed in hate crime after meeting man on phone app

Arron Keahey after the Labor Day attack.

Arron Keahey after the Labor Day attack.

A Springtown man is still recovering from a hate crime after he met a man on a smartphone app on Labor Day.

Arron Keahey, 24, went to meet 18-year-old Brice Johnson after the two met on the app MeetMe. Springtown is about 70 miles west of Dallas in Parker County.

But when he arrived, Keahey was ambushed and beaten, resulting in broken facial bones, nerve damage and knocked out teeth. The attack nearly killed him. He needed plastic surgery to reconstruct his face.

Keahey, who’s gay, said he went to Johnson’s house because he thought he was gay or bisexual.

“He started getting all frustrated and talking all angrily,” Keahey told  WFAA. “I don’t remember anything after that.”

Johnson later called 911, telling police he found Keahey in the trunk of a car and he drove him to a hospital.

Police later arrested Johnson and charged him with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, a second-degree felony.

Police are treating the incident as a possible hate crime, the first one for the small town.

“I’ve been up here altogether 10 years, and this is the first hate crime or possible hate crime that I’ve investigated,” Springtown police Lt. Curtis Stone said.

Keahey said he has learned a painful lesson about meeting people on apps.

“Just don’t meet anybody online,” he said. “Don’t trust them.”

Watch WFAA’s report below.

—  Anna Waugh

Vandals scrawl ‘fag’ on lesbian couple’s apartment door in South Texas

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Alysa Evans woke up Monday morning to find “FAG” written on her apartment wall in Poteet, a small town about 30 miles south of San Antonio.

Evans told KENS 5 that her fiancée was just getting off her first shift and she went outside to smoke a cigarette when she and her 2-year-old son saw the anti-gay slur.

She called police to report it, but they are not investigating it as a hate crime because it was written in chalk and didn’t cause any damage. Instead they are investigating it as vandalism.

“Police came out and they said if I can find something more original or catch it in the process, then they can do something about it,” Evans said.

The apartment complex’s maintenance workers later washed off the slur.

“Great job on your artwork,” Evans said. “Could have been a little more creative. Because I know I’m a fag. But great job. My 2-year-old applauded you.”

Evans said that while some people are targeting her family out of hate, she and her fiancée will always teach their son to love.

“We’re raising him in a home that loves no matter what,” she said.

Watch KENS 5’s report below.

—  Anna Waugh

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the murder of James Byrd Jr.

JamesByrdJr.

James Byrd Jr.

Today is the 15th anniversary of the murder of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper. Three men picked Byrd up in a bar and after they left, beat him, hooked him by a chain to the back of their pickup and dragged him to his death. Because of the horrific nature of the crime, the story received international attention.

After Byrd’s death, Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby Executive Director Dianne Hardy Garcia met with the Byrd family. She had been working almost a decade tracking hate crimes, attending the trials of those indicted on murder charges in bias cases and lobbying the Legislature to enact a hate-crime penalty-enhancement law.

Hardy Garcia explained to the Byrds that a hate crime bill would pass if it didn’t include sexual orientation. Byrd’s mother asked if gays and lesbians were targets of hate crimes. Hardy Garcia showed her the statistics.

“No family should have to go through what my family went through,” Mrs. Byrd told Hardy Garcia.

The Byrds became staunch allies of the LGBT community and insisted sexual orientation remain in the bill.

Despite the national attention the Byrd case brought to Texas, the Legislature blocked any attempt to pass a hate crime bill in 1999 as Gov. George W. Bush campaigned for president.

However, the 2001 Texas Legislature passed the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Law and Gov. Rick Perry signed it into law. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed an LGBT-inclusive federal hate crimes law, called the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The three men involved in the murder were arrested. Lawrence Brewer was executed. John William King is on death row. Shawn Berry is serving a life sentence.

Fox 26 Houston talked to members of the Byrd family and discussed the background of the murderers on the 10th anniversary of Byrd’s death:

—  David Taffet