PFLAG has just learned that a judge in Greenville County, South Carolina, has sentenced Stephen Moller to just under two-and-a-half years in prison for his role in the murder of Sean Kennedy. Sean was viciously beaten in an anti-gay attack, in 2007, outside of a South Carolina.
Moller, who used a slur before attacking Kennedy, has served almost seven months in jail and was released on bond after the charges against him were downgraded to manslaughter from murder. At today's hearing, a judge sentenced him to five years in prison... but reduced that to three years, with an additional seven months counted as "time served."
"Without... hate crime legislation, there was no legal precedent for a stiffer charge," WYFF reported this afternoon.
That means that for attacking a gay man Moller will now serve just 2 years, 5 months behind bars. And that should be a wake-up call to every parent and, indeed, every American.
Sean's mother, Elke Kennedy (pictured), has been a tireless advocate for hate crimes legislation - both at the federal level and in South Carolina - and recently established Sean's Last Wish to educate lawmakers and the public about hate crimes and the need to pass such legislation. (You can see Elke's interview with filmmakers during Saturday's PFLAG demonstration in Orlando here.)
But Elke can't do it alone. And today's sentencing in South Carolina should be a rallying cry for those who believe that that 29 months for the murder of a 20-year old man is outrageous and unacceptable. Because while there was no justice in Greenville County today, we can join Elke in working to ensure that no other family has to relive their story.
Visit Sean's Last Wish online for more information on Sean's story, and Elke's crusade to honor her son's memory. Then, contact your elected officials and demand passage of a comprehensive hate crimes law now.
Originally posted at the PFLAG National Blog.