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Crime

Gay panic claim rejected in teenage murder trial

Joe Williams August 13, 2015

An court has convicted a man of murder despite his claims that his victim tried to have “unwanted gay sex” with him.

However, while they rejected the attempted “gay panic” defence, the victim’s death will not be recorded as a hate crime, as the state of Georgia currently has no laws recognising homophobia as such.

Marquavyian Gude, 19, shot and killed 17-year-old Devontavius McClain two years ago after the pair met in an online chat room.

Gude later claimed that he had been deceived by his victim, who he says pretended to be a woman.

But prosecutors say that does not explain why he got into McClain’s car when he saw that he was male – or why he drove around with his victim for several hours.

“Gude confessed to murdering McClain but claimed it was in self-defence because the victim made a pass at him,” district attorney Paul Howard told AJC.com on Wednesday.

After he had shot his victim, Gude was spotted driving around in McClain’s car around and was caught trying to use his credit card to make purchases – with McClain’s body was in the boot of the car.

His badly decomposed body was discovered two months later, with experts having to carry out DNA tests to identify him.

Gude was already in jail over unrelated charges when he was charged over McClain’s death.

The Fulton County Superior Court jury eventually convicted Gude of murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, theft by taking and weapons offences on Tuesday – with the judge sentencing him to life in prison, plus five years.

There have been numerous calls to remove the “gay panic” defence as an option across the globe.

In June, The Law Society of Australia rejected pleas to remove the claim as an option for defendants.

They argued that “the partial-defence can and does have regard to contemporary community attitudes and standards.

“It is surprising, therefore, that the occasion of the delivery of Lindsey v R has been met with renewed calls for reform concerning the regrettably coined ‘gay panic defence’.”

However, MP Tammy Franks urged for the defence to be abolished, saying: “It only applies when it’s claimed that it was a homosexual male advance.

“It’s offensive, it’s homophobic, it needs to be removed from South Australia’s culture.

“This defence only applies in the case of a man who has killed another man.”

More: Crime, gay panic, Georgia, Hate crime, US, US

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