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

Buice to remain in prison after parole board reverses decision

Man convicted of 1991 gay-bashing murder of Paul Broussard won’t be up for parole again until next year

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

The Texas Pardons and Parole Board this week reversed its earlier decision to release convicted gay basher Jon Buice from prison.

Buice, convicted of the 1991 murder of Paul Broussard in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood, was originally sentenced in May 1992 to 45 years in prison, and has served 19 years of that sentence.
He was one of 10 young men from The Woodlands, a northern suburb of Houston, convicted in the killing and is the only one of the 10 still in prison.

The parole board on July 1 this year had approved Buice for release on Oct. 1. Andy Kahan, victims’ advocate for the city of Houston, said Tuesday that the board reversed its decision based on “new information that had not been introduced in his [Buice’s] previous four or five parole hearings. Also the Harris County district attorney weighed in on the case, and that had not been previously done.”

Kahan said he was “not at liberty to divulge” the nature of that new information. But he did say that the information “had nothing at all to do” with allegations that Buice had engaged in an illicit affair with a female prison chaplain while in prison in Huntsville in 2010.

While Texas Department of Corrections officials would not confirm that Buice and the chaplain had engaged in a sexual relationship, the chaplain was disciplined and later fired. Buice also received disciplinary action and was moved to a different prison.

Rissie Owens, presiding officer of the parole board, confirmed in a press release that the reversal was based on new information.

Buice will remain in prison for at least one more year before his request for parole can be reconsidered.

Broussard’s mother, Nancy Rodriguez, speaking by phone Tuesday from her home in Georgia, said she was notified of the decision that morning when Houston’s victims’ services office called her.

She has traveled to Texas each time any of the men convicted in connection with her son’s murder has gone to trial or had a parole hearing, and she said she will be back next year when Buice’s parole request is reconsidered.

“I will start getting ready for the next one [parole hearing] as soon as I get the letter saying he’s up for parole again, maybe in March or April of next year,” Rodriguez said. “I just don’t feel he has changed. He’s never shown any remorse. … My son did not deserve to die that way; nobody deserves that. I am concerned he [Buice] will go out and do something else to someone else.”

According to testimony during the trials, Buice and the nine other young men — all but one of whom were teenagers — had been drinking and doing drugs when they went to Montrose, the city’s gay neighborhood, on the night of July 3, 1991. When they saw Broussard and two other men walking home from one of the area’s gay nightclubs, the youths began to shout insults at them.

The 10 youths then got out of their vehicles and attacked the three gay men. The other two men managed to escape and run away, but Broussard was cornered by the gang. He was punched, kicked with steel-toed boots, hit with a nail-studded board and stabbed three times.

The Harris County Medical Examiner determined that it was the stab wounds — which Buice admitted in court that he had inflicted — that killed Broussard.

Ray Hill of Houston, an advocate on gay rights and prisoners rights, was one of the activists who organized rallies and protest in the days following Broussard’s murder, intending to focus public attention on the anti-gay hate aspects of the killing and prompt authorities to investigate thoroughly.

In the years since, however, Hill has become friends with Buice and is one of his most vocal supporters in his efforts to get parole. Hill said this week he is “very disappointed” in the parole board’s decision.

He described Buice as a “model prisoner” who has earned two bachelor’s degrees and hours toward a master’s degree while behind bars, and he said he believes it was “political interference” that prompted the parole board to reverse its decision.

State Sen. John Whitmire and state Rep. Garnet Coleman, Houston Democrats, both spoke out against Buice’s parole, sending letters to and calling the parole board. Hill said this week that the legislators’ actions were unethical and that he intends to file a complaint against them both.

But Kahan, who has worked with Rodriguez on the case for the last 19 years, said that Hill is wrong. “Frankly, he’s made Nancy’s [Rodriguez’s] life a living hell,” Kahan said of Hill.

“Nancy has always maintained that Jon Buice should serve a minimum of 27 years behind bars, because that’s how long Paul [Broussard] lived,” Kahan said. “If he [Buice] had not taken out his knife and stabbed Paul, Paul would have been injured but he would still be alive. That’s what it all boils down to. He took Paul Broussard’s life, and the only recourse we have to punish him for that is to keep him in prison.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 5, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

State Rep. Garnet Coleman asks parole board not to release gay-bashing murderer Jon Buice

State Rep. Garnet Coleman

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.owens@tdcj.state.tx.us

Victims Services Division, Texas Department of Criminal Justice: Victim.svc@tdcj.state.tx.us

Charles Shipman (voted in favor of parole), Parole Commissioner: Charles.shipman@tdcj.state.tx.us

Marsha Moberly (voted in favor of parole), Parole Commissioner: Marsha.Moberley@tdcj.state.tx.us

—  John Wright

BREAKING: Broussard’s killer to be released

Jon Buice

Fox 26 in Houston reports that Jon Buice, the last suspect still in custody for the 1991 hate crime murder of gay banker Paul Broussard, will be released from prison in October.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles announced Friday that it voted to release Buice, one of 10 men who attacked Broussard outside a gay bar in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood.

Buice, then 17 and now 37, was the knife-man who inflicted the deadly wounds, and he received the longest sentence, 45 years.

Seven years before Matthew Shepard’s murder, Broussard’s was one of the earliest anti-gay hate crimes to generate national media attention and it led to Texas’ first hate-crimes law.

Broussard’s mother, Nancy Rodriguez, has been fighting to keep Buice behind bars, saying he should serve at least 27 years, the length of her son’s life.

According to Fox 26, the parole board pointed to Broussard’s good behavior behind bars, where he’s earned two college degrees, as well as the fact that he was only 17 at the time of the crime.

Buice has expressed remorse, issuing a letter of apology in 1999 that was printed in the Houston Voice, then the city’s LGBT paper. Buice said he decided to write the letter after hearing the story of Shepard, the gay University of Wyoming student who was savagely murdered in 1998.

“The gay and lesbian community of Houston I owe a momentous apology, a repentance for an act of atrocity,” the letter stated in part. “If it were possible, I would sacrifice my own life to bring Paul back.”

—  John Wright

WATCH: Broussard’s killer again up for parole

Here we go again.

Jon Buice, the only one of 10 suspects who’s still behind bars for the legendary 1991 hate-crime murder of Paul Broussard in Houston, is up for parole for the fifth time in the last decade.

And Nancy Rodriguez, Broussard’s mother, has again traveled to Texas from her home in Georgia to testify against Buice, who stabbed Broussard to death outside a Montrose nightclub almost exactly 20 years ago.

And Ray Hill, a longtime Houston gay-rights activist who helped solve Broussard’s murder, is again ironically arguing that it’s time for Buice to be released.

This time, however, Rodriguez reportedly has some new ammunition — evidence of 10 disciplinary cases filed against Buice while he’s been in prison, including an inappropriate relationship with a female chaplain.

“We have more ammunition than I’ve ever dreamed of,” said crime victims’ advocate Andy Kahan. “It’s almost like the parole gods looked upon us and said, ‘Here’s a gift.’”

Mom on Son’s Killer: Don’t Let Him Out: MyFoxHOUSTON.com

—  John Wright

Jon Buice, the last man still in prison for Paul Broussard's murder, is again up for parole

Jon Buice, the only one of 10 defendants who’s still in prison for the 1991 hate-crime murder of Houston’s Paul Broussard, is up for parole again. And Broussard’s mother, Nancy Rodriguez, has traveled from Georgia to Huntsville again to try to convince the Texas parole board to keep Buice behind bars. Buice, the knifeman who inflicted the deadly wound during Broussard’s attack in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood, has served 17 years of a 45-year sentence. Rodriguez wants him to serve at least 27 years, which would equal the length of her son’s life. The case has taken a strange twist in recent years, with gay-rights activist Ray Hill, who originally helped police catch Broussard’s killers, arguing for Buice’s release. Hill has befriended Buice and claims he’s remorseful for the attack, which Hill now says wasn’t a hate crime. The parole board is expected to make a decision next month. Above is yesterday’s report from Fox 26 in Houston.

—  John Wright