Today, Joseph Bearden, one of the two accused killers of Ryan Skipper, was found guilty of second-degree murder and robbery.
On March 15, 2007, Ryan Skipper was stabbed 19 times and left to die on a dirt road in Polk County, Florida. His death is a bloody reminder of the anti-gay hatred faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in our state.
Just days ago, a prosecution witness revealed that shortly after the killing, Joseph Bearden, the defendant, said, "He felt he was doing the world a favor by getting rid of one more faggot."
The 19 stab wounds that Ryan Skipper suffered are what the FBI calls 'overkill'. That's when the violence in an assault is beyond what would be necessary for a robbery and more than would even be required to take someone's life. Overkill is a key indicator of a hate crime.
During his closing statement, State Attorney Castillo said the brutality of Ryan's murder indicated, "hatred, contempt and utter disregard for another human being because he was gay."