Guest Blogger

Speak Out Against Early Release of Anti-Gay Killer

Filed By Guest Blogger | January 10, 2009 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: anti-gay bigotry, anti-gay violence, hate crimes against LGBT people, Sean Kennedy, Stephen Andrew Moller

Editor's Note: Guest blogger Beth Sherouse is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at the University of South Carolina. She is also a Board Member for Sean's Last Wish and the Volunteer Coordinator for South Carolina Equality.

In May of 2007, in Greenville, South Carolina, Sean Kennedy, a 20-year-old gay man was leaving a bar when Stephen Andrew Moller called him a faggot and hit him in the face so hard that Kennedy's brain separated from its stem. Moller left him on the sidewalk, unconscious, and Sean died later that night from his injuries.

Sean was a person who was open and honest about his sexual orientation; he was kind, and generous, and never met a stranger he didn't like.

Sean murder was unprovoked. He was killed simply because he was gay. His killer Stephen Andrew Moller was plea bargained down to involuntary manslaughter and given a suspended sentence of 3 years in prison.

Because of the inadequacy of South Carolina laws and the lack of hate crimes statutes in the state, Sean's murderer is eligible for parole as early as next month, meaning that he will have served only 8 months in prison since his sentencing.

Please consider helping Sean's family, friends, and community protest this injustice and ask the parole board to make Stephen Andrew Moller serve the remainder of his sentence, which will end in September 2009. While Sean Kennedy's family may never see justice done for Sean, we must do all that we can to show SC officials and the rest of the country that our community will not simply sit back and watch such violence and injustice continue to affect the lives of GLBT people.

Please write a letter to the parole board. In your letter, please remind them of the violent and unprovoked nature of Moller's offense and the pain and suffering it has caused in the lives of Sean Kennedy's family and friends. Also, please let Sean's mother Elke Kennedy know if you send a letter and if possible, send her a copy of the letter ([email protected]), so she can have them to take with her to the parole hearing.

Be sure to include Moller's full name and ID number:
Stephen Andrew Moller - SCDC ID # 00328891.

Send your letters to:
Department of Probation Pardon and Parole Services
2221 Devine Street, Suite 600, PO Box 50666
Columbia SC 29250

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Too little information. You focus on the victim, but not on the criminal. The type of person Sean Kennedy was doesn't have much bearing on whether Moller deserves parole; the type of person Moller is now, and what has happened since his conviction, matters much more.

You either believe that people can be rehabilitated or you don't. If you do, then the relevant question is has Moller been rehabilitated?

But it sounds like you don't. Your quest for "justice" sounds to me more like a thirst for vengance. It's attitudes like that that have helped elevate the U.S.'s incarceration rate to historic proportions.

Let's look at the elements of the crime:
Michael Moller confronted Sean Kennedy and did, without provocation, strike him intending to cause him grievious injury and pain.

Did he intend to kill him? Probably not, based upon the attack.

Cause greivious injury? Without question.

Did he kill him, whatever his intention? Yes.

There are multiple components to sentencing: only one is rehabilitation. Another component is to deter recividism. Wil an eight month sentence effectily deter Moller from recividism, from futher attacks upon gays? Perhaps, but probably not.

The third element of sentencing is deterrent value. Will an eight month sentence have any value in deterrence of further attacks upon gays and Lesbians that could result in death? No.

Five years minimum in my view, given the actual intent of the offense.

What has actually elevated the population in US prisons to historic levels are mandatory minimums for drug crimes. The statistics speak eloquently to this. Rockefeller-type rules for multiple offenders add to the problem.

Mr. Moller ought to sit a bit longer.

Michael, You need only look at the beauty of his smile in that video to see the love and potential that was destroyed. That life lost has caused pain for all who knew and loved him. I am not saying anything else to you other than to say i hope you do some thinking on a human level by yourself. If you cannot see the injustice of that hateful murderer getting released then you should know people do more time for misdemeanor offenses. Do you really think for one second that Seans family gives a damn about that animals rehabilitation?