Rashawn & Beyond: Anti-Violence News for Queer People of Color

The Rashawn Brazell Memorial Fund aims to establish a sustainable tribute to Rashawn that promotes critical thought about the impact of violence and intolerance, particularly upon queer communities of African descent.

Through this blog, we provide action alerts, event postings and breaking news as a means of informing these communities in ways that enable them to combat racism and homophobia.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Popular Writer Don Belton Found Dead

Notable writer and Indiana University professor Don Belton was found stabbed to death in his Indiana home. His 25 year old student, Michael J. Griffin, has confessed to the killing, however has pleaded not guilty to the murder, alleging that it was gay panic. Griffin says that on two separate occasions Belton sexually assaulted him, and when confronted, Belton showed no remorse. That enraged Griffin, prompting him to stab Belton.

“The former military man told police that Belton, who was openly gay, sexually assaulted him in front of his girlfriend, while they were both intoxicated on Christmas Day. And because the assistant professor of English refused to "show remorse," Griffin stabbed him to death, according to court documents. Despite his alleged confession, Griffin has pleaded not guilty to the killing. And though his defense strategy is not yet clear, others with similar cases have pursued a "gay panic" defense, hoping to persuade juries that they were rendered temporarily insane by the perceived romantic or sexual advances of the victim.”

Michael J. Griffin is a former marine and was turned in by his girlfriend. He is currently being held without bond.


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