Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Gay Men Too Often Targets

As reported in the local newspapers, a Boca Raton man faces the death penalty after a Broward County jury convicted him Friday of murdering a gay man he targeted for robbery. Shari Tate was the successful prosecutor of Eric Kurt Patrick, 45, pictured here. He was no kid. He was a killer.

Patrick had confessed to the September 2005 slaying of Steven Schumacher, a 72 year old man, who was killed in his Oakland Park home. Too many times as the publisher of the Express Gay News I have had to write about younger men killing older gay men. In this case, Patrick had beaten, hog-tied, gagged, and then strangled Schumacher.

I represent the Cubby Hole Bar in Fort Lauderdale, where Schumacher was a regular. Their patrons were devastated by the killing. Schumacher was an easy going and affable gentleman who sought to reach out and assist a guy who had just gotten out of prison for a carjacking. He did not have any clue what he was getting into. This was a convict tattooed with Swastikas and the Grim Reaper. That is what he became to a man who was reaching out to help him.

Patrick was a 'hate crime' killer who specifically targeted gay men because he thought they were an easy hit. That should be a sentencing enhancement and an aggravated circumstance when the jury reconvenes to decide whether he gets life imprisonment or the death penalty.

The jury will not get to consider how Schumacher's spouse feels. After all, this is Florida. Gay men cannot marry. But they bleed the blood of victims still. Too many times.

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