While Indiana's legislature decided to deep-six possible hate crimes legislation this year rather than fight off a non-germane anti-abortion amendment, Hoosiers continue to suffer and die without protections offered in almost every other state in the nation. This time the victim was a 35 year-old Crothersville man and perceived sexual orientation was the factor that led to the crime.
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, [Aaron] 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.
While our Republican governor likes to give the "Let's bring in more business! Economic vitality!" speech everywhere he goes as he ramps up his re-election bid, the business community had to step to the forefront to help kill a Republican-led effort to hurt corporation's recruiting policies. When the proposed constitutional amendment to discriminate against the state's LGBT citizens was a Republican priority, it was Big Business that stood up and said "This makes us look intolerant and backwards. We oppose this." Governor Daniels? Not a freakin' peep - he was too cowardly to stand in opposition even when it directly contradicted his stated goals. I wonder how having a new hate crime every month or so will play to those considering relocating to our state. I think it would something like this...
"Do I want to move to Indiana? They're very homophobic. The Secretary of State makes racial remarks. The KKK was based there. They don't even think there's anything wrong with a hate crime. Instead, the legislature there spends it's time trying to discriminate against gays and lesbians and pushing a religious license plate."
This case ranks right up there with Matthew Shepard's murder in terms of sheer brutality. Leaving the man to die in a ditch is reminiscent of the fence Shepard was tied to... But the worst aspect of the story is the photo. That just makes me shudder.