Thursday, April 26, 2007

Crothersville Man Brutally Killed Because Attackers Thought He Was Gay

Yet another man's life may have been taken because his attackers believed he was gay according to the family of a Crothersville man who was brutally beaten to death. The gruesome attack was equally as brutal as the killing of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming several years ago which gained national notoriety and led most states in the country to adopt hate crime laws. Aaron Hall was struck by one of the attackers boots at least 75 times before he was dragged down a flight of stairs, loaded into a pickup truck and dumped in a ditch according to WTHR. Two days later the attackers returned and found Hall dead in a field near where he was dumped. They wrapped his body in a tarp and hid it in one of the attacker's garages.
WHAS offers a different account. "Supposedly the victim, Aaron Hall, grabbed one of the suspects, Coleman King, in his private area and asked for oral sex." That led to a fight among the men which went on for hours according to WHAS. According to this account, the men returned later to the ditch where he had beed dumped and one of the attackers fired shots at him." Authorities learned of the killing after one of the attackers text-messaged a photograph of the badly beaten man with one of the attacker's arms around him. WTHR reports on this disturbing hate crime here in the Hoosier state:

Crothersville - There are new details in the murder of a Crothersville man whose body was found hidden in a garage earlier this week. Court documents show the suspects severely beat 35-year-old Aaron Hall, then dumped his body in a ditch. The victim's family now calls the murder a hate crime.

When Thomas Hall read court documents describing his brother's death, he was stunned. "It was a brutal crime against my brother and I feel this is a hate crime," said Thomas Hall. Police found Aaron Hall's badly beaten body hidden inside a garage on Sunday. Charged in connection with the murder were 19-year-old Garrett Gray, 18-year-old Coleman King and 21-year-old Robert Hendricks. Police made the arrests after receiving a tip from Garrett Gray's friend.

The tipster got a multi-media text message on his cell phone from the suspects. In the photo, Aaron Hall appeared with the suspects' arms around him. Hall had a swollen lip, a black eye, and appeared badly beaten.

Police say on April 12th, Hall and the three suspects were drinking at Gray's house. The suspects told police Hall grabbed Coleman King and questioned his sexuality. That set off the deadly beating.

"And they're saying what's why they killed him. Because he was gay. And he wasn't gay," said Thomas Hall. "I don't know any crime on the planet that deserves that type of punishment." Court papers show Gray and King brutally attacked, then photographed Hall. King hit him with his boots at least 75 times. The suspects told police they dragged Hall down the steps, loaded him into Robert Hendricks' truck, and dumped his body in a ditch. They say they went back two days later, and found Hall in a nearby field. That's when they tell police they wrapped the body in a tarp and hid it in Gray's garage.

The homicide has left Aaron Hall's family horrified.

"My brother at times was a handful and I can see him getting beat up, but brutally murdered...a hate crime? I don't know what to say," said Thomas Hall.

Aaron Hall's funeral is Friday morning in Crothersville.

The suspects are being held in the Jackson County jail. Gray and King are charged with murder. Hendricks is charged with assisting a criminal. All three will stand trial in October.

Sadly, the Indiana legislature once again defeated legislative efforts to enact a hate crimes law just weeks ago. Indiana is just one of 5 states in the country without a hate crimes law. Homobigoted efforts by the American Family Association, Advance America and the Indiana Family Institute put the fear in lawmakers if they dared vote for any piece of legislation which included the words "sexual orientation" or "gender identity." These religious right groups falsely claimed the legislation criminalized thought and provided special protections for "homosexuals and cross-dressers."

Will Aaron Hall's death be enough to wake up the Indiana legislature to what is happening in a society where these intolerant fundamentalists are creating an environment of hate, which leads people to commit the absolute worst crimes against a person because they happen to be gay, lesbian or transgender, or in Aaron Hall's case, simply believe he's gay?
A video clip of the WTHR report by Jenny Runevitch can be viewed by clicking here.


Anonymous said...

Yea, we really could use that hate crimes law here because you know, a murder charge just isn't good enough in this case.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this Rep. Cheatham's district, and didn't he vote against the hate crimes bill?

Gary R. Welsh said...

I believe it's Terry Goodin's district. He was absent for the vote on the hate crimes amendment.

Wilson46201 said...

When I first heard of this story briefly in headlines form, it had all the "vibes" of a hate crime. Later, it got confirmed. Somehow people imagine it's OK to kill a fag, an illegal alien, a whore or bitch, a Black man, etc. People are labeled and dehumanized so it's OK to kill. The same process happened to Jews massively in Germany - sadly, we know where that lead to ...

Gary R. Welsh said...

anon 6:49, you post the same bogus argument every time I mention hate crimes. You are either illiterate or blinded by your bigotry. As I have explained on numerous occasions, the proposed hate crimes law is a sentence enhancement mechanism--very similar to numerous other provisions already in Indiana's criminal code. There are degrees of culpability with respect to crimes involving the killing of another person. A greater degree of culpability would be assigned to a person accused of killing someone because of their race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, etc., leading to a tougher sentence under the proposed legislation.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with 6:49. This sounds like an absolutely awful event, the kind that will easily bring calls for the death penalty. I really don't see what is missing in the current laws for punishing what happened here. And I also don't see anything "bogus" about pointing that out.

What is certainly bogus, it seems, is your stance on this issue, AI. You have claimed previously that your calls for "hate crime" were not based on your desire to have special classes of victims. And yet, that is exactly what you have just called for. As I have asked before, and you never answered, what makes a crime against you worse than a crime against me?

You claim at times that there is some special bigoted hate factor that demands additional punishment. But you never indicate how that special factor would be determined. And now, you state simply that the punishment ought to be stronger when the victim is gay. At the very least, you are absolutely inconsistent on this point.

Punish this guy to the fullest extent of the law. Contrary to Wilson's far-too-typical ramblings, there will be widespread agreement on that sentiment. But you know what AI? You can't kill a guy twice. If this is a potential death penalty offense, which it is, then what more do you want?

Anonymous said...

One less fag on the street chasing after our children.........its about time citizens united because the liberals aren't going to do anything.

Anonymous said...

Nice try, Wilson. Your idiocy in that 10:40 post is just way too obvious.

Anonymous said...

From the WTHR article:

Police say on April 12th, Hall and the three suspects were drinking at Gray's house. The suspects told police Hall grabbed Coleman King and questioned his sexuality. That set off the deadly beating.

"And they're saying what's why they killed him. Because he was gay. And he wasn't gay," said Thomas Hall.

Excerpting from that article: "Hall grabbed... and questioned his sexuality. That set off the beating."

His brother, Thomas Hall, and you, AI, have missed the point. Aaron Hall was in the role of the bigot there and his one killer, Garrett Gray, was the one accused of a non-straight sexuality. Aaron Hall was not killed because they thought he was gay; he was killed because he made such an accusation against a fellow with two friends willing to back him up.

This murder occurred because all the parties, including Hall, were homophobically minded. While I think hate-crimes legislation should be enacted,; I find this to a very poor case to use to show that need.
. . .

Gary R. Welsh said...

Quite to the contrary, anon 1:38. You have a group of friends turning on one of their own friends because of the fear of being perceived as being gay. This was exactly the problem in the Matthew Shepard case. The killers believed they were perceived as being gay because Shepard chose them to hang out with and showed sexual interest in them. That is typically how these cases happen. Until you've had the best friend in the world turn on you and lash out violently at you because they learned you were gay, you will never appreciate this.

Wilson46201 said...

The anonymous haters at 10:40 and 11:17 are doing their sock-puppetry games.Feeble!

As somebody who was actually gay-bashed and hospitalized with injuries, I'm a tad sensitive about this issue...

Anonymous said...

10:40 PM EST Anonymous said...
One less fag on the street chasing after our children.........its about time citizens united because the liberals aren't going to do anything.

I have never criticized anyone on this blog but you are an idiot.

--source wikipedia
hate crimes are considered to victimize not only the immediate target but every member of the group that the immediate target represents. A bias-motivated offense can cause a broad ripple of discomfiture among members of a targeted group, and a violent hate crime can act like a virus, quickly spreading feelings of terror and loathing across an entire community. Apart from their psychological impacts, violent hate crimes can create tides of retaliation and counterretaliation. Therefore, criminal acts motivated by bias may carry far more weight than other types of criminal acts.
…Crimes motivated by invidious hatred toward particular groups not only harm individual victims but send a powerful message of intolerance and discrimination to all members of the group to which the victim belongs. Hate crimes can and do intimidate and disrupt entire communities and vitiate the civility that is essential to healthy democratic processes.

And, for all you "thought police" folks:
Indiana House Bill 1459
Bias crimes. Allows a person who suffers a personal injury or property damage caused by a criminal offense to bring a civil action to recover damages, including punitive damages, if the person who committed the offense knowingly or intentionally selected the victim because of the victim's color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex. Makes commission of a crime because of the color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, or any other characteristic or belief of the victim an aggravating circumstance that may be considered by a judge when the judge imposes a sentence for the crime.

Would you approve if “sexual-orientation” is removed? Ok, lets take out “religion” then as well because “religion” is a choice.

Anonymous said...

Perfect point, Donna. Religion is the only "choice" that is protected more than any other item and I've always wondered why that deserves more credit than any other. We will protect an ideological thought process that preaches against gays and lesbians but not the people their preaching against.

The way I see it, religion is the direct cause of outrageous behavior like this. If it weren't for religion, people wouldn't be subconsciously or purposefully taught that being gay is worthy of such an action. Whether the person committing the crime is a theist or not, their gay hatred and internalized insecurities are the direct result of religious ideology forced upon society whether they realize it or not.

All crimes are wrong but when someone kills someone just because they made them feel uncomfortable about a sexual orientation that is perceived as worthy of severe punishment as religion has advocated that should be doubly wrong. I'll never understand why we are constantly told to tolerate intolerance.

We protect an individual's right to believe in flying unicorns and fairies but not something that has a great deal of increasing scientific evidence that shows may be biological. If we protect a person's right to preach hate against a group of people then we should see fit to protect the group of people they're preaching against from violent retaliation. Hate crimes are there to make the statement that we will not tolerate hateful or violent words being acted upon. It's that simple.

Anonymous said...

A hate crime! Oh, this is rich! Portraying Hall's death as such should deter those in the area from questioning the fact that the beating took place in Deputy Coroner Terry Gray's own home.
After death, a body starts to putrefy within three days. Hall's body (dead 10 DAYS) was found in Gray's very own garage.
Yes, if those in Indiana are kept focused on the "hate crime" issue, it will make it easier for the "good old boy" system to sweep this under the rug.

Jay said...

As far as I know I will agree with Leslie. Aaron Hall was the furthest thing from gay and his attackers are doing just what she said trying to make their stupid drunken choice of nonstop beating and bragging of beating him justifiable.There is no excuse to continously beat someone to death regardless and they will have their day in the lords hands soon

Rufus In Florida

Jay said...

Investigate Terry Gray is right...Of course this guy should have smelled something...He was a coroner right..Oh I forgot everything gets covered up in Jackson County anyways. Someone should investigate all these crooks...How many crimes have been covered up..I do beleive plenty in Jackson County....Our law enforcement needs to stop worrying about the little things and do their job

Anonymous said...

This Terry Gray was also the spokesperson for the family of Katie Collman, which has definetely had some strange twists. Oh yeah, Gray is also a reserve deputy. No wonder they're not investigating him. Shouldn't he at least resign due to a conflict of interest?

Anonymous said...

You're right Jay. Everything does get covered up in Jackson County.
Pity is, they have pulled the wool over a lot of idiots who truly believe law enforcement has brought those guilty of heinous crimes such as this one to "justice".
Now if you are ignorant enough to hide your head in the sand when it is obvious that the dead body laid in the deputy coroner's garage for 10 days, he did not notice the blood splatter, and he allowed minors to have a drunken brawl in his home....and now nothing has happened to him and his little boy is getting a mere slap on the wrist for this horrible murder,....all I can say is be careful because you don't know when it could happen to you the next time.
The family of Aaron Hall deserves justice.

Anonymous said...

Hey wait a minute, wasn't there another hate crime in that same area a few years back. A hispanic man, beaten nearly to death because he was hispanic. Same deal almost, guy beaten severely then thrown naked in a ditch.
Seems like those guys got a more severe punishment than the ones accused of killing Aaron Hall, even though the man survived.
Someone help me out if you can remember the detail, the name of the hispanic gentleman escapes me at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Alright you white trash midwestern rednecks, here's the deal:

Hate crime laws are generally not necessary where they are the most quickly passed, generally in large cities containing literate citizens and you know...museums and libraries.

However, for you knuckle-dragging simians, they're necessary in order to offset the intrinsic legal bias *in favor of the perpetrators*. Because you people have such a difficult time punishing criminals--at all--we have to make sure it's done for you.

And we resent it, by the way. That's why we make fun of you so much.

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

There has been only one excerpt from any "news" source that has been correct on the motive behind it. Garrett and thee other did what they did because Aaron said F*** you and your mom. Granted it didnt warrant death. i believe he snapped. His mom was his world. As i know because i was there the night my aunt garnet died in Indianapolis hospital. i attended the funeral. I have not seen Garrett for roughly 10 years. I am NOT defending him in any way whatsoever. I was shocked and appalled when my Aunt called us and told us about what happened. This was NOT a hate crime. I know this for a FACT.You guys can say what you will about what ive said. I dont care. I'm not taking up for him in any way shape or form. No one watches what they say or do anymore. The slightest things set off people. And the human mind when weak doesnt think about the "rational" side of things. I know it means nothing but my sincere condolences to sabrena baker and to the rest of the family.