Suspect arrested in 2-year-old murder of Mollie Olgin

DavidStrickland

David Malcolm Strickland

A suspect has been arrested in the murder of Mollie Olgin and shooting of Kristene Chapa in Portland, Tex.

According to the local NBC affiliate, David Malcolm Strickland, 27, was arrested along with his wife, Laura Kimberly, 23, on Friday by U.S. Marshals and Texas Rangers in the San Antonio suburb of Helotes.

The attack took place two years ago and stunned the LGBT community throughout Texas. Dallas activist Cd Kirven collected funds for Portland’s crime stoppers program and organized a local vigil.

The murder took place in a park in the coastal Texas town. Olgin was found dead and Chapa has been recovering from her injuries. According to the NBC report, she is still receiving physical therapy.

Told about the capture of the suspect, Chapa told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, “It will never take back the pain and hurt he did to our families. And it won’t bring Mollie back.”

 

 

—  David Taffet

Crime Stoppers video offers new details in shooting of S. Texas lesbian couple

Tri-County Crime Stoppers recently released a video with more details about the June 22 shooting of lesbian couple Kristene Chapa and Mollie Olgin in Portland.

Chapa, 18, and Olgin, 19, were found shot in a park the following morning. The video mentions that the teens were walking late a night when they saw a man walk past.

A few minutes later he returned with a mask and gloves. He forced them to a secluded area before assaulting and shooting them.

Portland police have said that no evidence existed to lead police to believe the shooting was a hate crime. But after months of investigating, police received few leads.

People have donated to raise money for a reward for information, including North Texans. Currently $20,000 in reward money is being offered for information.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s, 5 feet, 8 inches tall with a thin build, weighing 140 pounds, with brown hair and a scruffy beard.

Anyone with information should call the Tri-County Crime Stoppers at 800-245-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip online. Reports may be made anonymously.

Watch the video below.

—  Anna Waugh

S. Texas lesbian reflects 3 months after shooting that killed her girlfriend

It’s been three months since Kristene Chapa, 18, and girlfriend Mollie Olgin, 19, were found shot in a park in Portland, Texas.

Olgin did not survive, but Chapa was found still breathing early the next morning and was rushed to the hospital. She eventually was able to communicate with police and helped them sketch a photo of the man responsible.

Chapa updated her Facebook status this weekend, reflecting on her recovery and life without Olgin.

“Today marks 3 months since my accident. I’ve learned life is so fragile and cherish the people you have in your life love them don’t take things for granted and buy pepper spray! they deserve it!” Chapa wrote, according to NBC News.

She also posted lyrics to the Kenny Chesney song “Who You’d Be Today,” a song about a person who died too young.

“I still need time but I am happy,” Chapa wrote. “I’m moving on.”

Moving on also includes dating again. Chapa noted in early September she was seeing someone else.

“I know people deal with things different and I’m not gonna sit in my room and cry over what happened,” she wrote. “I was heartbroken but I’m not gonna be single for the rest of my life … she’s in my heart but I needed something else. I wanted a girl to be there for me and understand what I’m going through.”

Chapa is still recovering in a rehabilitation facility while police await more leads that will provide more answers and justice for Chapa and her family. Dozens of leads were called in early on in the case but have since dwindled down to few.

“I love that people pray for me,” she wrote. “I really think that’s why I’m recovering so fast.”

Portland Police Chief Randy Wright has previously said that no evidence existed to lead police to believe the shooting was a hate crime.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s, 5 feet, 8 inches tall with a thin build, weighing 140 pounds, with brown hair and a scruffy beard.

North Texans have helped raise money for a reward for information.

Anyone with information should call the Portland Police Department at 361-777-4444. Reports may be made anonymously.

—  Anna Waugh

YFTCC exceeds fundraising goal for reward in lesbian couple’s shooting

 More than 60 people laced up their bowling shoes Saturday to help Youth First Texas Collin County score almost $400 more than expected for its fundraiser.

The group raised $1,379.84 during the event in Plano, after planning the event a few weeks before to raise $1,000, YFTCC member Kris Wong said.

Wong wanted to help fund a Crime Stoppers reward to help find the shooter who shot lesbian couple Mollie Olgin and Kristene Chapa in Portland, Texas, in June.

The event was the biggest fundraiser YFTCC has ever organized and the first event Wong has headed up, she said.

“I was pretty ecstatic about it,” she said, adding that she was thrilled with the community’s support.

Wong teamed up with Dallas activist Cd Kirven at the Dallas vigil for the couple. Kirven had expressed a desire to raise a reward and Wong said the event was already planned as a social, so it was turned into a fundraiser.

The teen couple’s attack resonated with Wong, who said she couldn’t imagine if one of her friends was shot or killed.

“It’s sad because they’re my age and they’re too young for, we’re too young for that, because we just started getting out into the world for it to end so quickly,” she said. “It kind of hits home.”

While Wong hopes the money helps catch the shooter as an incentive for those with information to come forward, if the money doesn’t get used, she said it will be donated to YFTCC for future events and causes.

—  Anna Waugh

Pink Martini’s gay bandleader Thomas Lauderdale commits to Sunday’s outdoor show rain or shine

Before Sunday’s concert at Annette Strauss Park, Pink Martini’s gay bandleader Thomas Lauderdale discussed just why the eclectic jazz outfit as been so productive lately. With four releases in the last three years, the band has churned out material faster than in their early days.

Lauderdale also says that with Dallas’ random weather lately, Pink Martini is set to deliver on Sunday whether there’s a crowd or not proving the band’s commitment to spread its distinct sound that delves into foreign lands and classic movies.

Read my conversation with Lauderdale after the jump. Pink Martini performs at Annette Strauss Square at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 8 p.m. $45–$65. ATTPAC.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Mayor in Portland, ME Calls on Senators to Repeal DADT

With votes on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” looming in both the House and Senate, HRC field staff recently met with the Mayor of Portland, Nick Mavadones, at town hall. We updated the Mayor on the status of repeal and watched as he signed a personal letter to both Senators Collins and Snowe on the topic. In his letters, he urges both Senators to “exercise their leadership and repeal this outdated policy.” You can read the full text of the Mayor’s letters here.

After the unsuccessful vote on the Department of Defense Authorization Act in the Senate last week, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, announced that she is cosponsoring a new stand alone bill. The bill may be our last chance to see “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repealed this year. We are grateful to Senator Collins for her stand on this bill, but we do not yet have a commitment from Senator Olympia Snowe. We have been holding phone banks every night and canvassing Mainers in public areas everyday, asking them to call Senator Snowe and urge her to cosponsor the new bill to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” NOW!

As we continue to watch this develop in the Senate, we must keep pushing with all that we have. If you live in Maine, please call Senator Snowe NOW and ask her to cosponsor S.4023, the new stand alone bill to repeal DADT.

Senator Olympia Snowe:
DC: 202-224-5344
Portland: 207-874-0883

If the line is busy, keep trying. If you have called already, call again. The vote could take place at any moment!

When you are through, you can also send a “thank you” message to Senator Susan Collins and others in the Senate who have championed this cause.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Can 4Chan Help Track Down This Portland Gay Basher Who Left His Victim Unconscious?

Police have released this sketch of an unknown gay bashing suspect — described as " 6'1, muscular, white with freckles, and blond" — who attacked a Portland, Oregon, man walking home at night on Nov. 1. The victim descended from a pedestrian walkway over train tracks, where his attacker, who was seated on a bike and accompanied by another man on a bike, "made remarks" about his sexual orientation before beating him unconscious; he's since been released from the hospital. Police are releasing this sketch a month after the attack because initial leads didn't pan out.


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—  admin

Portland calls on Sens. Collins and Snowe for Repeal

After a great Thanksgiving holiday with my family, I am back out on the road. Each year, I am especially thankful for all the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces to ensure my freedom. Now that I am back out, I am headed to Portland, Maine, where we are already hard at work in our efforts to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Yesterday, HRC teamed up with Organizing for America and Equality Maine in beautiful Portland for a phone bank to urge Mainers to contact Senators Collins and Snowe about repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in this lame-duck session of Congress.  The law discriminates against gay, lesbian and bisexual military members, and it is long overdue for repeal. We were able to contact many constituents who agreed to call their Senators right after our conversations. Many even agreed to join us in the fight to repeal by signing up to volunteer for our next phone bank. It was great to see Mainers stay involved with the campaign after a hectic election cycle and after getting stuffed for the holiday.

Even after learning the positive results of the Pentagon’s study about open service and military readiness, we continue to put pressure on the Senate to vote for repeal. The study shows that a strong majority of our men and women in uniform and their families have no issue with gays and lesbians serving their country openly.

If you have already called, emailed or visited your Senators about repealing DADT, please do it again. We are so close to victory.  We are in a state of emergency of now and we need all hands on deck.  Contact your friends, your family, your neighbors and ask them to call their Senators and urge them to vote for repeal.  To call your Senators, call Congress at (202) 224-3121 and urge your Senators to support the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” If you’d like to volunteer with us in Maine, please contact Jessica Osborn at Jessica.osborn@hrc.org.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

BREAKING: Lady Gaga and SLDN will rally for DADT repeal in Portland, ME – targeting Collins & Snowe

This is BIG. Lady Gaga just tweeted:

Meet me in Portland, Maine 2moro, 9/20 to help repeal #DADT. I’m holding a Rally + speaking live in Deering Oaks Park http://bit.ly/cO4cY9

Yes, our truly fierce advocate is on her way to my hometown, Portland, Maine, to hold a rally with SLDN to push for the repeal of DADT. The targets are Maine’s Republican Senators: Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.

The rally, called “For the 14,000”: A Rally for the 14,000+ Discharged” is tomorrow at 4:00 PM Eastern in Deering Oaks Park. For you tweeters, the hashtag is #4the14k.

This is very, very strategic on the part of SLDN and Lady Gaga.

Here’s what SLDN’s Aubrey Sarvis said, via press release:

The votes to break McCain’s filibuster are not there. We need Sens. Snowe and Collins on board; they’re key to us breaking the filibuster. With the vote less than 48 hours away, we need everyone supporting repeal to call the Senate. We’re bringing gay and straight service members to Portland to help make the case. And we’re proud to have the support of Lady Gaga to bring grassroots attention to repeal at a critical hour. Like Lady Gaga, all New England senators, indeed all 100 senators, Democrats and Republicans, need to engage in a real debate on this issue, and not just posture and spin this week over procedure and Senate rules.

So, that’s the situation. It’s dire.

As Aubrey notes, right now, we don’t have the 60 votes to break the GOP filibuster of the Defense Authorization. Senator Susan Collins already voted for that very bill in the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 27, 2010. Collins is now playing partisan procedural games to rationalize her support for the filibuster. It’s gross. Maine’s other Senator, Olympia Snowe, should do the right thing, too. She is playing the same game.

The usual lobbying tactics aren’t working. So, desperate times call for new and innovative tactics. And, this is one of the most sophisticated lobbying efforts I’ve seen in a long time.

They’re taking the fight right to Collins and Snowe — in a way that no other issue or group has. This event will be noticed in Maine. It’s so much smarter than bringing another celebrity to DC, where political media is so cynical. Again, Gaga has over 6,390,000 followers on twitter. And, she’s got over 18,255,000 fans on Facebook. No political organization in DC has anything that compares to that kind of outreach.

The 14,000 gay and lesbian servicemembers who have been discharged under DADT and the 60,000 gay and lesbian servicemembers still serving have been waiting 17 years for this vote. It’s not a political or procedural game for them — it’s their lives and they’re willing to put their lives on the line for the rest of us. And, the time is now.

Lady Gaga has been using her extensive bully pulpit to elevate the DADT repeal issue for the past several weeks. It’s been very, very impressive. (Meanwhile, despite the impending vote and the GOP filibuster, President Obama has been largely silent on this issue, which, sadly, is not a surprise.)

This week, the action is in the Senate. Collins and Snowe are the targets. Now, they can’t hide. They’re going to have a very powerful spotlight on them, thanks to Lady Gaga and SLDN.

Maine is the best chance we have. If Collins and Snowe abandon the gay and lesbian servicemembers, it could be a long time before we get another vote.

I’ll have more as events unfold…the next two days are going to be wild.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Belo markets are more likely to have LGBT mayors than any other media company

Belo

Belo, owner of the Dallas Morning News, owns newspapers in three markets and 21 television stations in 15 markets. In most of those TV markets, the Belo station is the top-rated or second station in that city.

Those markets are more likely to have an LGBT mayor than cities with any other media company.

The three largest cities in the United States with LGBT mayors are Houston (Annise Parker), Portland, Ore. (Sam Adams) and Providence, RI (Providence, R.I.).

KHOU in Houston is the Belo-owned CBS affiliate. Portland’s KGW is the Belo-owned NBC affiliate. In Providence, Belo owns the Providence Journal, the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the United States.

In Dallas, where openly gay candidate Ed Oakley came in second out of 11 candidates in the last mayoral election, Belo owns the Dallas Morning News and WFAA (Channel 8, the ABC affiliate). While Oakley did not win, Matt Ganssle of Kemp, Tex., within Belo’s Dallas market, did win his race for mayor along with Jerry Hazelip, now a Kemp city council member.

The other major media companies in these top LGBT-electing cities do not come close to Belo’s record. The Houston Chronicle, that city’s newspaper, is owned by Hearst. While Hearst publishes papers in other liberal cities like San Francisco and Albany, N.Y., the closest those cities have come is gay-friendly Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, who spoke at this year’s Black Tie Dinner. The TV stations are owned by ABC, Fox and Post-Newsweek Stations.

In Providence, TV stations are owned by LIN broadcasting, Media General and Global Broadcasting. The biggest of these is Media General with stations located mostly in the Southeast.

Portland’s other TV stations are owned by Fisher Communications, New Vision Television and Meredith Corporation. The newspaper, The Oregonian, is owned by the Newhouse Group.

None of these other media companies operate in as many LGBT-mayoral-electing cities.

But is there any link? None whatsoever. At least not in helping them get elected. In Dallas, the Morning News endorsed Tom Leppert, who won, over Oakley. In Houston, while Hearst’s Chronicle got the polling right on target, Belo’s KHOU’s poll had Parker finishing third.

—  David Taffet