Projected Release Date: 06/27/2013 (Derrick Maiden, AKA: "Blue", Seduced Gay Victim)
So why haven't you heard of Sean Ethan Owen?Last week the North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of one of two men convicted of first-degree murder in the February 17, 2004 killing of Sean Ethan Owen. Last July, the first-degree murder conviction of another of Owen's killers was upheld by the Court of Appeals. A third accomplice was allowed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder in exchange for his testimony against the two convicted of first-degree murder.The gruesome details of Owen's murder are provided in the Court of Appeals opinions. (Click on those links above. Don't be intimidated; no Latin terms are used in the description of the crime.) Like Matthew Shepard, Sean Ethan Owen was an openly homosexual young man murdered by multiple assailants.However, three factors distinguish the Shepard murder from the Owen murder. First, while it is commonly accepted that Shepard was murdered because he was gay, the only indication that his killers knew he was gay were their claims that Shepard made sexual advances toward them, eliciting a "homosexual panic" in the poor lads. The trial judge rejected their attorneys' attempt to employ a "homosexual panic" defense.
Projected Release Date: LIFE
A crucial fact in the Shepard murder is conveniently overlooked in most accounts: his killers also assaulted two men, presumed to be heterosexual, on the night they murdered Shepard. It is possible that Shepard was murdered simply because he was diminutive, an easy target for two thugs out for a night of mayhem.Sean Ethan Owen, conversely, was known by his killers to be gay. Owen met one of his killers on the Internet, in a gay chat room. The seductive murderer lured him to Durham, North Carolina for the purpose of having sex with him. When Owen arrived, he was met by the seductive murderer and two accomplices, who had Owen drive them to a park.There, Owen was shot in the back of the head when he got out of the car. Incredibly, he survived--"This boy is a soldier" one of his murderers marveled--and took off running, begging, "Please don't do this to me." He was caught, knocked to the ground, choked, stomped, and shot in the head again at point blank range. Still, he didn't die. So his seducer and two accomplices kicked him down a 20-foot embankment into the icy Eno River. The Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death--after all of that--was drowning.Second, while it is pointless to argue which murder was more heinous, there was a factor in the Owen murder that was not present in the Shepard murder: planning. In most jurisdictions, this element raises the severity of a murder above those that are spontaneous. Owen was seduced by the seductive murderer for weeks, sending and receiving salacious messages describing desired and promised sex acts. In fact, Owen was so aroused by the prospect of sex with the seductive murderer that, before leaving home on his fateful trip to Durham, he told his sister that, according to her testimony, "he was going to get some black meat tonight."Which leads us to the third distinction between the Shepard murder and the Owen murder: while both victims were white, and Shepard was murdered by two white men, Owen was murdered by three black men.
Projected Release Date: LIFE
Two months after the murder of Sean Ethan Owen, when his three killers were arrested and charged, Richard Prince of the Maynard Institute for Journalistic Education referred to the possibility that it was "A Matthew Shepard Case With a Different Cast," and, noting the interracial aspect of the crime, wrote "It will be interesting to note who pays attention to this story."Three years after the murder, we have the answer: nobody. If you Google "Matthew Shepard," you'll get thousands of hits. "Sean Ethan Owen"? Six hits--none from gay rights groups, one from a web sight that keeps an impolite accounting of black-on-white murders.Given the facts in both cases, there is no logical reason that the Matthew Shepard case should be a cause celebre while the murder of Sean Ethan Owen continues to be ignored by both national news organizations and gay rights groups.One can only speculate.The facts fit my theory of nostalgic reporting of interracial violence. In the good old days, whites preyed on blacks, and killed with impugnity, unafraid of the law. Selective reporting of interracial crimes takes us back to the good old days, and spares us the unsettling facts.As for the silence of gay rights groups, here are some possible explanations for their failure to publicize this case.First, the details do not flatter the victim, who could not be said to appreciate his seducer as a person when he anticipated that he was "going to get some black meat tonight." In addition to racist overtones, it describes the sort of impersonal, indiscriminate sexuality that some consider characteristic of all gay men.Second, gay rights groups have attempted to ride the coat tails of the black civil rights movement to further their agenda. For example, advocates for gay marriage seldom miss an opportunity to point out that until the 1967 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Virginia v. Loving (not "loving," but defendant John Loving, a white man whose wife, Mildred, was black), interracial marriages were illegal in southeastern states. For these purposes, the impression of gay-black solidarity is valuable.Not that gay rights groups have advocated for blacks when blacks might have benefitted from such an alliance. The international "Stop Murder Music" campaign was successful in getting record companies to acquiesce to demands that performers of so-called Jamaican dance hall music stop selling or performing music that advocated killing homosexuals (the "battyman"). After that agreement, the same performers were free, as hip-hop performers, to continue to advocate killing blacks.Third, gay rights groups naturally publicize cases of gay men and lesbian women being assaulted, but not assaulting, even when the victims are themselves gay men or lesbian women. From that perspective, the murder of Sean Ethan Owen is not an ideal case to publicize or memorialize. You see, the seductive murderer was adept at seducing Owen. He knew exactly what to write and say to get a gay man aroused at the promise of getting "some black meat." The evidence presented at trial made it appear that the seductive murderer just might be, could be... you know.Of course, whether the seductive murderer was gay or straight is irrelevant to Owen's murder. But it is relevant, it seems, to the failure of gay rights groups to publicize that murder.To those readers who have erroneously concluded that I'm attacking gays or implying they are all "closeted" murderers, re-read what I've written. I'm speaking on behalf of a gay man, Sean Ethan Owen, who experienced incomprehensible horror before he drowned in the freezing water of the Eno River, and whose suffering and murder has, inexplicably, been almost completely ignored outside of the Triangle area (Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill) of North Carolina.*** One last thing before I go to sleep: straight men need to be just as concerned about anti-gay violence as gay men are already. Violence is more indiscriminate, less "principled, " than most people realize. If a few scumbags are looking for the opportunity to commit violence, and they've already agreed between themselves that attacks on gay men are justifiable, if you are vulnerable they are going to deem you "gay" to justify an attack on you. In other words, to violent criminals you're gay if THEY say you're gay. So have a heart. In May of 2005, Owen's mother posted the following online in response to a story on her son's murder: This is Sean Ethan Owen's mother. Yes, I believe my son was murdered because he was gay and he was the kindest person you could know. The people that murdered my son needs to look deep down and ask themselves why. But there is no reason why you could just kill a person that hasn't done any thing to you. Just cold blooded murder him. Why could anyone just take a life for no reason? You ask your self many times and you still get no answer. If they just wanted a car they didn't have to kill my son for it. He would have gave them the car so that is not why they killed him. You see you can get a car from any where but no, they wanted to kill a gay man that hasn't done a thing to them. One of the boys, Matthew Taylor got out on a bond. He was smiling like it was no big deal that he killed my son. I don't think it was fair to just let a man out, after knowing all the evidence and still let him out on bond. Why I ask myself but I have no answer. Can anyone tell me why? I want justice and I don't think I am going to get it. I see in my eyes if it was a white boy killing a black person you would not hear the end of it, but since it was a white man killed by three black men it looks like to me that they are saying another white man is gone. That is sad, a person is a person no matter what color they are and they need to only look at that - not the color of my son, that did not deserve to be killed.
I think it would be worth our efforts to get the mothers of Black gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender hate-crime murder victims together to do a PSA regarding homophobia in the Black community and its effects on entire families and communities.
THIS IS SUCH A SAD STORY. IT PAINS ME TO HEAR THAT WE ARE DYING BECAUSE OF OUR SEXUALITY. IT ALSO HURT TO KNOW THAT THESE 3 BLACK MEN TRADED THEIR FREEDOM FOR A LIFE SENTENCE IN PRISON, SOMETHING THAT WILL AFFECT THEM FOREVER. WE NEED TO LEARN TO LIVE & LET LIVE & STOP LETTING IGNORANCE ABOUT A PERSON’S SEXUALITY COME TO THIS. HATRED ON THIS LEVEL DOES NO ONE GOOD & IT JUST MAKES THE PROBLEM WORST…