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Suspect in Puerto Rico teen’s murder ‘may use gay panic defence’

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  1. The mutilation of the body goes way beyond a sudden act of anger.

  2. the homophobes love to blame the victim and this lie of gay panic is a stupid evil idea

  3. it’s disgusting that anyone should be allowed to use such an excuse to justify murder.

  4. It’s disgusting if this defence is used. It’s a meaningless homphobic get-out clause and it’s very existence is offensive.

  5. With Jorge Steven Lopez being both gay and trans I would guess we will see a joint gay and trans panic defence.

  6. Question… can racists use a “Black-panic” defence in court?
    Supposing as a gay man I had an unwanted advance from a woman which didn’t result in sexual assault, could I use a “Straight panic” defence in court if I snapped her neck like a twig?
    Acting out in violent self defence should only apply in scenarios where rape or murder are in progress, not simply being chatted up by someone of the wrong sexuality. That should be called what it is, a homophobic defence.

  7. So can a woman do the same if a guy she doesn’t fancy tries it on??
    Straight rape panic???

  8. the last three comments expressed exactly what I was thinking since reading this article. The boy in that picture looks so fragile and vulnerable how could anyone see him as a threat? This is a straight guy who thinks he’s on for it with a girl, then finds out it isn’t a girl and feels humiliated and lashes out. That’s not a defence. It’s revolting. All he had to do was walk away.

  9. Jean-Paul Bentham 20 Nov 2009, 2:39pm

    Yes, all he had to do was walk away.

    But and but, let’s not forget that the killer, a sicko named Juan Antonio Martinez Matos, is a 26-year old father of four who had spent time in prison for domestic violence.

    Also, Matos was living alone because this horrendous murder took place in his home where the FBI found one of the walls covered with blood.

    This killer wasn’t out looking for sex; he was out looking for a frail, helpless victim to kill in the most gruesome way imaginable, e.g. were the arms and legs severed before the victim’s head was sliced off?

    And we’re the queer ones!

    I hope this case becomes a turning point in the justice system of ‘gay-friendly’ Peurto Rico, of Brazil where only the rich receive justice, and of Mexico as well where a serial killer has just recently butchered 20 gay young men and remains on the loose.

    Not too long ago, a serial killer in Peurto Rico murdered 27 gay young gays before he was apprehended and he is presently serving time in prison…a life time, I hope.

    Thanks for following this story, Jessica Geen.

  10. “The gay panic defence is a controversial plea which is used by a suspect who claims they were violent because of a moment of temporary insanity.”

    Insanity. That is the word he is planning on using in his defence. Therefore Mr Martinez Matos has a mental illness and is insane. So he needs treatment and, due to the violent nature of his disorder, must be detained for his own safety.

    Let him plead ‘Fruitcake Excuse’ if he wants, but having seen some of the conditions in asylums, I think he’d be better off admitting it as the gay hate murder a lot of people believe it was and do his time in the State Penn.

    Oh, but wait, this is the cotton-wool-nanny state of the U S of A where unless you are suspected of terrorism then you get a Playstation in your cell and time off at the weekends if you promise not to kill anyone… [/cynic]

  11. ^^ My mistake, Puerto Rico is not in the US.

  12. Qué total y deprimentemente predecible. Que encarcelen al cabrón y tiren la llave.
    How totally and depressingly predictable. Lock the bastard up and throw away the key.

  13. Why is there a gay panic law in the UK?
    No law should give an excuse for murder other than self defense (which is often still a manslaughter charge)

  14. Jean-Paul Bentham 20 Nov 2009, 3:47pm


    Peurto Rico is not an American State, you’re right.

    But I do believe it is under the jurisdiction of the USA and the FBI have been investigating the murder…in view od Obama’s recent legislation against hate-crimes.

    If you take a minute to check around international gay news websites, you will see that the entire gay population of the world is livid about this ritual murder.

    Nothing remotely ressembling this kind of thing has ever been committed by a member of the LGBT community, yet homophobia thrives instead of hetero-sickophobia.

    And yes, I am bitter.

  15. Brenda Jean Louise 20 Nov 2009, 4:12pm

    Today in the USA, November 20th is recognized as the Transgender Day Of Rememberance, “TDOR”. While it usually gets reported that the preson killed was Gay, in actuality they were Transgender, and considered streight. But the Gay world just doesn’t get this. OK, there are many Drag Queens who conder themselves male and Gay, there are also many more Transgendered folks who consider themselves as female and Straight, looking for a male partner for a date. Such was the case for Gwen Arujlo, Angie Zapata, Ebony Whitaker, etc. That’s why it’s important to include Transgendered and Transsexuals in a federal hate crime law. The sad thing in our past history, is that the Trans folk got thrown under the bus. Go back and look and the many people who were murdered or died from AIDS and you will probably find out that a very large portion were Transgendered. What the media fails to report, and most likely will not, is the fact that they really were Transgendered. So if you are reading this, remember to light a candle and say a prayer for the Trans folk who have been killed, and for those who killed themselves because of the worlds Transphibia. Thanks
    Brenda Jean

  16. Jean-Paul Bentham 20 Nov 2009, 4:59pm

    Brenda Jean Louise:

    I am a senior and 100% gay in a long term same-sex relationship.

    My partner and I agreed years ago to keep a candle burning in our living room 24/7, and we do. That candle is more important to us than a christmas tree!

    As for what the media reports…screw them.

    You write very well and you have this space in PinkNews to keep us educated and informed. Please find the time for an occasional write-up, or better yet, start a group of your own at which is a place where we all meet ‘behind the scenes’.

    Please think about it.

    Like Ethel Merman sang in Gypsy:

    “You’ve got nothing to hit but the heights!”

  17. Jaisne Blue Sexton 20 Nov 2009, 5:02pm

    while Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado was openly gay, he may not have been ‘trans’, but appears to be involved in cross-dressing activities, whether for fun or for money it remains unclear at this point. but if he was gay AND trans, he wouldn’t have been picking up men, he would have been picking up women.

    also Puerto Rico is what is known as an American ‘protectorate’. many Americans don’t realized that people from Puerto Rico are actually American citizens with the same rights/responsibilities of all citizens of that country, and when these uneducated people encounter them, they think they are ‘illegal aliens’!

    anyway, all this aside. if you check Wikipedia – – you’ll note that this stupid so-called ‘gay panic’ or ‘trans panic’ defense (aka “Portsmouth defence” or the “guardsman’s defence”) has been used successfully many times this year in various countries around the world. by successful, i mean that it has allowed some people to get off completely and walk free from the court while others have been able to get reduced sentences. for example:

    “In 2009 Joseph Biedermann successfully asserted Terrance Hauser had made a sexual advance to him and was acquitted of murder. Biedermann stabbed Hauser 61 times then went to his girlfriend’s apartment, showered, went to the hospital, whereupon Biedermann’s girlfriend called the police.”

  18. Today the police in PR said they are looking into the possibility that the murderer might be linked to two other killings not solved yet. One is the mother of one of his kids, she was raped and stabbed 52 times last June, she was 23. The second was a 74 year old lady brutally stabed multiple times in her kitchen, same neighbourhood as the previous victim, this took place last month. This guy has been in jail for domestic violence were he said he has been raped and therefore his hate for gays, neighbours have told the press he liked to intimidate them.

  19. Brenda, about the candle. Yes. I’ll do that. I think I might well follow Jean Paul’s example in that regard. There is a lot to keep it burning for.

  20. I must say I really like the concept of a “black panic” defence and a “straight panic” defence. Kind of sums up the madness, doesn’t it?

    “I’m white and he was black, M’Lud, so of course when he looked at me *the wrong way* I couldn’t just walk away, I was entitled to take him home and cut him to bits.”

    “I’m gay and she was straight, M’Lud, so naturally when she propositioned me I couldn’t ignore it, I was entitled to wring her neck and pop her into a bath of acid”.

    Yes, that does sound *really* persuasive.

  21. Jean-Paul Bentham 20 Nov 2009, 6:39pm

    Jaisne & Halfback:

    Great stuff; thanks for sharing your research.


    Yes, we know about vigil candles, eh. Good for you, honey.

  22. As suspected, another violent criminal is using this as an excuse for having committed an atrocious crime. Does that mean other people can use a “straight-panic” defense, or a “racial-panic” defense, or how about the “misogynistic-panic” defense. Despicable.

  23. Pumpkin Pie 20 Nov 2009, 7:25pm

    You have have to remember that transgender means more than just transsexual – crossdressers count, too. Mercado may not have been transsexual, but his circumstances were the same as those of other transgendered people murdered by hateful cowards.

  24. Gay groups in the Island want the trial to take place in local court and not in the federal level. Local courts only require a 25% of the jury to decleare someone guilty vs federal courts require 100%. No word yet if it would be persecuted as a Hate Crime.

  25. Bill Perdue 20 Nov 2009, 10:35pm

    Another youth cut down by a terrorist wearing a cross.

    The ugly truth is that Puerto Rican society, like US Society, is infested with bigot cults and with police, judges and politicians who cater to them and they don’t worry about what he that.

    They worry about how to get the killer off. One cop already exonerated the murder by saying that people ‘like that’ should expect to be treated ‘like that’. That will make trying and punishing his murderer much more difficult.

    Another important question is whether or not leaders of the Puerto Rico Democratic Party and political leaders in the US like Obama and McCain denounce the murder and the use of the anti-GLBT ‘gay panic’ defense.

    Given that many in Puerto Rico think that it’s a colonial possession of the US we want to be careful about demanding the application of US laws there.

    The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and resolutions of the UN and world judicial groups cover the question of our rights pretty well, at least on paper.

    GLBT folks and our allies in the US can help by demanding that the authorities there not permit the use of the ‘gay panic’. We should also demand that the roman catholic cult, whose bigotry promotes violence, be fined the equivalent of $100 million dollars a year for the next 10 years to compensate his family, fund anti-violence and anti-bigotry programs, fund a massive distribution of condoms and fund programs to help GLBT youth who end up being forced out of their homes or into prostitution.

    That’s what a decent government would do.

  26. Jean-Paul Bentham 20 Nov 2009, 10:40pm


    You seem to be living on the island. Please keep us informed. Give us an e-mail address where we can write and support you.

  27. Jean-Paul Bentham 20 Nov 2009, 10:46pm

    Bill Perdue:

    And I thought I was upset! Good for you and Bravo!

    Yes, the UN has to be taken seriously; it simply cannot be ignored if we want a better world, and I do.

  28. Jean Paul,

    I’m not it the Island right now but I have been reading every news article from the Island, surprisingly a couple of papers are following this case very closely (Primera Hora and El Vocero) to the dislike of many…not the case of the main paper (El Nuevo Día). The Gay Right Groups in PR are trying to get as much attention to the case as they can and I know that authorities would be more careful if they know people from outside the Island are paying attention, no word from any government official and the FBI seems way to shy when expressing opinions. I hope human rights groups in the USA and in the rest of the world keep and eye on this case. I’m surprise this case hasn’t get much attention in the US news, this could be the first case to be treated as a Hate Crime under the new law president Obama signed last month. A lot of information and support can also be found in facebook @ “Jorge Steven López – End Hate Crimes”.

  29. Jaisne Blue Sexton 20 Nov 2009, 11:23pm

    @Bill Perdue
    – you said: “Given that many in Puerto Rico think that it’s a colonial possession of the US we want to be careful about demanding the application of US laws there.”
    – US law DOES apply there BECAUSE it IS an American ‘protectorate’, very specifically, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is “is a self-governing unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea, east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands.”
    – what’s really interesting is that american federal hate crimes laws can be legally applied to this case. and federal penalties are usually more harsh, as are the punishments. for example, anyone convicted federally must serve 85% of their sentence before they can be considered for parole.
    – point of interest on last point: when various States either refused to press chargers or were not successful in pursing charges against whites who committed hate crimes against blacks, the federal government stepped in and nailed them for ‘civil rights violations’ for crimes up to and including hate-based murder. also, that constituational protection of double jeopardy does not seem to apply, meaning that someone let go at the State level can be pursued at the federal level for the same crime.

  30. Im not Law expert but PR in terms of law is similar to the other states of USA, PR has its constitution but the USA Constitution supercedes PR’s. USA uses the English Law System and PR uses Spanish Law…there is a list of crimes that fall under the FBI jurisdiction, including Hate Crimes, then the Federal Court would take the case and I think the death penalty could be applied as a punishment, something the PR constitution would not allow, if that was the case I’m almost sure the person convicted would be put to death outside the Island…just for political reasons…

  31. Jean-Paul Bentham 21 Nov 2009, 3:01am

    This case does need more international exposure. I just wrote to the Canadian magazine “Xtra” saying that I would have prefered reading about this hate crime on the front page than a story about a 29 year old guy making it big in the porn industry.

    I like porn as much as the next guy, but there’s a big difference between gay news and gay trivia.

  32. Jean-Paul Bentham 21 Nov 2009, 7:39am

    The story did make it to iglhrc, but it is not being updated as well as it is here:

  33. Jean-Paul Bentham 21 Nov 2009, 8:38pm


    Thank you so much for this link. I read every word and saw all the footage.

    At the end of her article, Barbara J. Rosa Figueroa says:

    “…a white ribbon as a sign of the anger felt by the loss of George Steven, emblem also hang next Wednesday when starting at 6:00 pm participate in a vigil that will leave the Justice Department to the Peace Pavilion in the Parque Luis Munoz Rivera in San Juan. The message at the event will be one clear and forceful: no more hate crime, living diversity.”

    I hope thousands of people show up, especially the drag queens like the ones who had the balls to trigger the historic Stonewall Riots in New York City in June ’69. And let’s not forget Harvey Milk.

    To me, this vigil can be the event that will tell the “world” where to get off, and affirm our equal civil rights.

    Enough is enough!!

    Basta! Basta! And that goes especially to the Roman Catholic Church whose pathological sexual theology is causing nothing but misery to countless millions of human beings while B16 struts around in drag.

  34. SteveDenver 22 Nov 2009, 4:45pm

    Why doesn’t the law hold “gay panic” defendants responsible for their actions as adults? Couldn’t the same be said for any crime of poor judgment: “Sorry, judge, I just couldn’t control myself.”

    Gay panic is going to be when this puke lands in prison and is the new piece of arse on the cell block.

  35. Being gay myself, I do not understand why trans people put themseleves in harms way by pushing the envelope and trying to pick up straight guys? He did not deserve this but like any other circumstance, when you are doing wrong, there are consequences. R.I.P :(

  36. Jean-Paul Bentham 23 Nov 2009, 2:21am


    What you are doing is called “blaming the victim”. Are you sure that is an attitude you want to develop?

  37. Straight panic – classic. Right up there with straight-phobia. Ah… after a night of great relations the girl told me she was straight, I got so angry I threw her purse out the window into the ocean! … What a lame excuse gay panic is!

    @jack, straight trans people don’t transition to continue to have relations with gay people… They actually consider themselves to be straight and therefore go after straight partners… That being said, if the person is not physicaly matching their presentation then yes caution is high priority. Most straight men would not want to undress a girl to find a penis, that is just reality. SO be careful people, but don’t stop being who you are..

  38. Bill Perdue 23 Nov 2009, 9:13am

    No 29, at Jaisne Blue Sexton. In spite of what Wikipedia or the flaks at the State Department say Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States. Americans who have no connection to Puerto Rico should be careful about demanding the application of US laws there. It’s fine for GLBT groups in Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans LGBT groups in the US to demand that but others should preface their comments saying that the wishes of Puerto Rican GLBT groups have priority.

    To do otherwise is to give legitimacy to the imperialism of the American looter class.

  39. Jean-Paul Bentham 23 Nov 2009, 5:01pm

    Chloe and Bill Perdue:

    You each have a fine point, and well expressed. Thank you.

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