A (Gay, Hate) Murder in Puerto Rico

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I got this news via Feministe from TowleRoad. It is not, repeat is NOT being covered by the cable/network news organizations at all. Why? Because (1) it’s a hate crime, reminiscent of the Black Dahlia sex murder in Los Angeles in the Forties (which by its nature WAS a hate crime against women); and (2) it occurred in Puerto Rico, a territory, a “commonwealth” if you will, that could also be called a colony of the United States. Christopher Pagan who is reporting on this case is updating the situation as it occurs at the link below.

From CNN’s iReport by Christopher Pagan (CHRISPAGANSJPR@GMAIL.COM):

[…]On November 14 the body of a gay 19 year old was found a few miles away from the town in which he was residing in called Caguas. He was a very well known person in the gay community of Puerto Rico, and very loved. He was found on the site of an isolated road in the city of Cayey, he was partially burned, decapitated, and dismembered, both arms, both legs, and the torso.

This is has caused a huge reaction from the gay community here, but it’s a difficult situation. Never in the history of Puerto Rico has a murder been classified as a hate crime. Even though we have to follow federal mandates and laws, many of the laws in which are passed in the USA such as Obama’s new bill, do not always directly get practiced in Puerto Rico. The police agent that is handling this case said on a public televised statement that “people who lead this type of lifestyle need to be aware that this will happen”. As If the boy murdered Jorge Steven Lopez was asking to get killed. (Emphasis mine.)

We have a gay rights activist in Puerto Rico, Pedro Julio Serrano, who does his best to defend these hateful acts, but the international attention is needed for this local government to wake up and give us the needed rights and proper justice to such hateful crimes. You are the biggest beacon of hope in such horrific events to be made known.

The murder victim was Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, 19. The suspect, accompanied by his father, is 26-year-old Jose Bermudez. Here is what is said to have occurred to precipitate the murder.

Officials indicated how Jose Bermudez the accused explained that he went into the center of town in Caguas and then after making a few attempts to pick up a prostitute allegedly Jorge went to him dressed as a woman, and Jose invited him into his vehicle thinking he picked up a female prostitute.

He said that he did not know that it was really a man and they went to his apartment in Cidra, where Steven allegedly told him to have anal sex with him, which provoked anger in him and caused him to murder him. He also said that Steven tried to stab him, and that he armed himself with a kitchen knife and under a fit of rage he injured him, dismembered him, decapitated him and then later took his remains to Guavate where he was left.

Other allegations of the killer is that in 2003 he was arrested for domestic abuse and that in his youth he was molested and that is why he hates homosexuals. The authorities said that this case has been advanced and successful due to the cooperation of the local GLBT community. The agent Angel Rodriguez said that he is being interrogated and will be charged with first degree murder. He also indicated that he will submit another request to the federal judge to have this treated as a hate crime.

Later, Bermudez was arrested at around 11:30 p.m. last night, and accompanied to the police station by his father. He may be arraigned on a murder charge by the close of today. An investigation of the suspect’s home turned up a wig, a burned mattress, a burned PVC water pipe, and a knife in the backyard. Blood was splattered on the rear wall of the house. Two vehicles were also impounded. The FBI is also involved in the case.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the father is also involved as an accessory to dispose of the body parts, because it would take two people to do this kind of grisly work.

I’m going to say it: all murder is a hate crime, from that poor dear Shaniya Davis, to Derreon Albert, to Matthew Shepard, to this brave young man who had the nerve to be himself. In the U.S., the homosexual fear/self-defense angle Jose Bermudez is clinging to would be given short shrift. I would not be surprised if he is taller and heavier than Lopez. If Jose Bermudez was indeed raped as a boy by a child molester, then he was acculturated–erroneously–to hate gays. However, it’s still isn’t a viable reason to kill Steven Lopez. And Bermudez probably didn’t know or didn’t want to know who he was. The rage and confusion must have been as corrosive as Drano.

Bermudez doesn’t strike me as some kind of simpleton though. In most cities and towns all over the world, he must have known that there would be either women, transsexuals, or queens to be found at certain locations in town. That’s just street–and male–hearsay and knowledge. When Lopez offered him anal sex instead, Bermudez was furious. If he was genuinely tricked, he could have thrown the boy out. Instead, he probably started beating up the young man, because bringing Steven home, if not the act might make him “gay,” and that this information might get around and ruin his macho reputation. If Steven Lopez ever whipped out a knife, it was for self-defense and to get out of the house with his life. He had a lot of nerve for that, but not enough luck. That’s why I think Bermudez murdered this boy–because he had the nerve to defend himself and to be himself.

~ by blksista on November 17, 2009.

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