UPDATE: After two hours of deliberations, a jury of 12 has found William Brown, Jr. guilty of first degree murder and robbery with a deadly weapon.
We'll be updating this as trial info comes in:
BROWN TRIAL ADVISORY: Equality Florida to Join Bartow Press Conference Today
Immediately following the verdict and sentencing in the William David Brown, Jr. trial, expected to occur this afternoon in Bartow, Brian Winfield of Equality Florida will join Ryan Skipper's family in a press conference outside of the Bartow courthouse on 255 Broadway. Equality Florida is the statewide LGBT advocacy organization which initially raised awareness about this anti-gay hate crime and has supported Ryan's family since the crime occurred.
At Joseph Bearden's trial in February of this year, Assistant State Prosecutor Castillo and Judge Hunter expressed their opinions that Ryan Skipper was savagely killed because he was gay.
"The third significant reason for why Ryan Skipper was killed was because of his sexual preference.
In the mind of that man right there (points to Bearden), and in the mind of Bill Brown, his life was less precious, less important, less significant than those of a heterosexual person.
That he was weak, he was easy, in their terms, a faggot. Not a big deal...The brutality of the crime just adds to it....
The extent of the injuries in this case are the result of hatred, contempt, utter disregard for another human being because he's gay.
That's why it happened. That's exactly why it happened. They just didn't care."
- Assistant State Prosecutor, Cass Castillo (closing argument, Feb 26, 2009)
"I believe that this young man was killed in part because he was an easy target, I believe he was killed in part as a motive for robbery, and I believe he was killed in part because he was gay."
-Judge J. Michael Hunter (sentencing, Feb. 27, 2009)
I'll put up information on the verdict and press conference as soon as it comes in...