Bil Browning

Double homocide of elderly gay men looks like hate crime

Filed By Bil Browning | October 23, 2008 10:45 AM | comments

Filed in: Living

People who knew the two elderly gay men slain in their Indianapolis home are stepping forward to say they believe the murders are a hate crime.

Patrick Beard, a friend of the victims, told 6News' Rick Hightower that he believed the men were targeted.

"I firmly believe it was definitely a hate crime. Milt was 70 and his partner was 73 and to go into someone's home and do something like that, it's just too coincidental," he said.

Police reports show that the men had their phone and cable lines cut twice in the past few months, and that anti-gay statements were posted on their front door.

Investigators said that while they do believe the vandalism was related to Lindgren and Hendricks being gay, that they didn't know if their killings were.

Keep in mind though - a hate crime didn't happen no matter what the results of the investigation are. Why? Indiana doesn't have a hate crimes law. State Representative Jackie Walorski thinks bludgeoning of two gay men in their 70s is the same as having an abortion, so she kills our hate crimes law every year.

Several violent attacks based on sexual orientation have happened in Indiana over the past year.

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Has any more news about this surfaced in the past couple of days?

Marvin Wagner | October 26, 2008 5:23 AM

I wanted to attend funeral or memorial services for these two. The Star offered no information.

What's going on?

Even though this does clearly look like a hate-motivated crime, it could be difficult to prosecute as such even if Indiana had a hate-crime law.

As the police point out, there is no objective evidence linking the previous vandalism and harassment incidents to the actual killing, nor is there evidence at the murder scene itself that clearly indicates a hate crime. It could be that the perpetrators were successful at "playing it smart" if they had any concern about their crime being labeled as a hate crime, by separating their prejudicial expressions from the major crime itself. This is unfortunate, but it is another reason why even the best hate-crimes law is far from perfect --- a carefully-planned M.O. can avoid being designated a hate crime and still get the point across to the population group being targeted.

By the way, Indiana does have a law requiring that "hate incidents" be reported and tallied --- so the concept of a "hate crime" does exist under state law, even though the sentencing for such a crime is not enhanced.