A killer who was famously convicted of an anti-gay murder has been freed, after 23 years behind bars.
27-year-old Houston banker Paul Broussard was beaten and stabbed to death outside a nightclub in 1991 – by a group of teenage boys allegedly looking to “beat up some queers”.
Ten people were arrested over the killing, with Jon Buice – who confessed to inflicting the fatal stab wound – receiving the longest sentence of 45-years.
All of the other attackers have been released already – and after securing parole earlier this year, this week Buice has also been freed.
Broussard was killed in 1991
A decision was made in November to release Buice early – despite Broussard’s mother Nancy Rodriguez appearing multiple times urging the board to keep him locked away.
Gay rights advocates had argued that Buice should serve at least half of his sentence before he is eligible for parole – though some including rights pioneer Ray Hill have supported his release.
Despite the killing, Buice claims he is not homophobic – and apologised to the gay community in a letter in 1999.
He wrote: “The gay and lesbian community of Houston I owe a momentous apology.
“A repentance for an act of atrocity. The night of July 4th, 1991, haunts me every day. It has hurt me deep inside. I was involved in taking a man’s life.
“As I’ve grown older, I have gained a more relative understanding of what took place that night in Houston. It was never my intention to harm anyone. Never could I possibly imagine I would take a human life, or take part in any action which would inflict fatal injuries.
“But the fact remains: I did participate and I have taken responsibility for this. Of course I knew I was wrong. In my youth I made poor decisions. After years here in prison, I see how disruptive my life and attitudes were.”
Buice’s father, James told the Houston Chronicle: “I’m happy to have him home.
“He’s our prodigal son. He’s got a place he’s staying — I built a house for him. He’s got a job in computers waiting for him. … Jon never was a bad boy, not a bad teen.
“He made a bad mistake when he was 17, but he’s 41 years old today. He’s going to be a good man.”