Crime | New Mexico

Gay Man Tortured, Beaten for Hours in New Mexico

Sorry to bring you so much violent, ugly news this week but I think it's important that these incidents get as much visibility as possible.

EdgewoodPolice in New Mexico report that a woman and a gay man were kidnapped and beaten for hours last weekend during a party at a mobile home in rural Edgewood.

The two victims met up with another woman and one of their attackers before driving to the party. That woman left the party early, but confirmed to police that those who attacked the two victims used anti-gay language toward the man and taped part of the party on a cell phone.

After reportedly threatening to throw their victims into a yard full of "several large barking dogs" they took them to a camper parked in the yard of the mobile home and that is where an all-night torture began:

While some of the partygoers tied up the gay man with rope and began hitting him, "Uriah told them that this was a kidnapping and they were not going to die yet," according to the warrant. A female from the party lifted the woman's head and kicked her in the face, the warrant says. The woman said she felt her nose break, the warrant says.

"(The woman) was not tied up, but was held in the camper for most of the night while all of the male subjects kept hitting, kicking, slapping and knocking (the gay man) down," the warrant states. "The male subjects would knock (the gay man) down and if he did not get up off of the ground within a certain count or if he would make any noise, they would jump on him, hitting and kicking him.

"This continued all night until the sun was about to come up."

Said Prosecutor Donna Dagnall: "It's pretty clear to us that his homosexuality was the reason for the beating."

The male victim suffered "bleeding on the brain and a concussion as well as facial lacerations and bruising" and has been released from a hospital. The female victim did not require hospitalization, according to reports.

Two men, age 17 and 21, are in custody, and have been charged with "two counts of kidnapping, aggravated battery causing great bodily injury, false imprisonment and conspiracy." Another has not yet been apprehended. The three will be charged with hate crimes.

The most high-profile hate crime case of this kind in New Mexico occurred in February 2005 when James Maestas was beaten unconscious in a motel parking lot near Santa Fe. Just this June, Maestas' attackers were sent to rehabilitation rather than prison. Upon sentencing, the judge said: "You both would be ruined if I sent you to prison. I would be throwing you away. I don't want to do that."

3 Charged in Beating of Gay Man [free new mexican]

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  1. That's pretty fucking horrible. Yes, your postings have been depressing lately but it is important that we know about these incidents.

    Posted by: jon luddite | Aug 3, 2006 11:50:46 AM

  2. Reading about all these attacks being reported in the last few days has horrified me.

    However this one stings even more-I grew up in New Mexico and my little brother (whos till lives there and is 15) recently told me he was gay. He knows I support him no matter what-but part of me was a little afraid-if only because I never wanted him to live in a world where THIS INCIDENT can happen to him. And for what? WHy??? I can never understand this.


    Posted by: Jeni | Aug 3, 2006 11:54:13 AM

  3. Seeing stories like this makes those of us who are in more comfortable situations remember that in most of this country it's still very dangerous to be out.



    Posted by: Brian | Aug 3, 2006 11:59:27 AM

  4. Nothing, absolutely nothing of any consequence, will happen to the perpetrators. Its a Red State. Red means Dead for gay people.

    Posted by: Crixi Van Cheek | Aug 3, 2006 12:00:20 PM

  5. I'm sorry but this is a big enough country that if you are gay, you can scoop together whatever money you have and find yourself in a place where you can be accepted. If these people choose to stay in Bumblefuck USA and still like to go to "parties at trailer parks" as an out gay man, what do you want the other people with deep-ingrained mentalities to expect. Sometimes, ok most times, its better to go where you can be around other people that are likeminded about gay people.

    God who are these people who have one chance on planet earth and think they are gonna be out and proud in the middle of nowhere USA. Do yourself a favor and live your life to the fullest. Andy did it, Amanda Lepore did it, and MILLIONS of other gay men did it. I'm surprised we don't read more of these bashing stories coming out of small towns.

    I know I'm going to get attcked for this posting, but how many times do you read about a gay man rising up like a phoenix to escape where he lived to set up shop in a new city with new found sensibilities and surrounding himself with a community that is understanding. I know this is easy for me to say because I live in New York City, but still... I had to choose to leave what I grew up in and I will always remember where I came from but I will never go back. If I did I probably wouldn't be alive to write this.

    Posted by: Jake | Aug 3, 2006 12:09:03 PM

  6. Jake-While I understand what you are saying I want to point out a few things.

    1) the kid was 18. As someone who grew up in Albuquerque (and now lives in Seattle)-it's not that easy to just up and move. And really, he is a kid, he may not have had the chance.

    2) When I was growing up (in Albuquerque-not very far from Edgewood-maybe 20 minutes) I went to the "most dangerous" high school in the state. I had so many friends that were Gay or Lesbian. They were all out and the never were harrassed by the "gansters" at my school or anyone else. None of them have ever been beaten.

    People can be just as accepting and open minded in "Bumblefuck USA".

    It's not like there are not gay bashings in New York.

    Posted by: Jeni | Aug 3, 2006 12:17:19 PM

  7. Gays and lesbians live in trailer parks too, don't kid yourself. Maybe the trailer was next to his.

    I left the backwater too, but some folks just hate living in urban areas, have jobs that they love that require them to live in these places, or want to live in rural America because it's all they've ever known. I prefer an urban setting myself, but one of the best dates I've ever had was sitting on a fence next to a cow pasture drinking beer while watching a big storm roll in across the prairie. That couldn't have happened in New York City. We should also remember that there are plenty of kind and accepting people in the reddest of states, and gay bashings can occur in the bluest of cities.

    Posted by: Brian | Aug 3, 2006 12:18:26 PM

  8. Jake-dude, have you already forgotten about what happened to Kevin Avaiance? Just because you move to New York City doesn't mean you are safe. As the band The Ark puts it so eloquently in their song Father of a Son.

    "And you´re totally fogged in your head
    If you were serious right now
    When you said
    That "it´s because
    They will be bullied in school"
    `Cause that means you let the bullies
    Set the rules"

    Posted by: Jason | Aug 3, 2006 12:24:30 PM

  9. Andy, thanks for linking to articles like this one. None of this information gets reported at a national level. The Times would rather do a fluff piece on closeted gay men than actually report on something meaningful.

    Posted by: humarojo | Aug 3, 2006 12:26:55 PM

  10. Jake: if we live in a city that we build for ourselves, what about those who will still have to grow up in places like you did? By staying safe in a more understanding city, it is up to us to make sure that what happened to us, should not happen to other gay guys out there. We have safety in numbers in New York City, and perhaps a bit of affluent, our combined effort in getting equality could help those with lesser means outside our city.
    We won't learn or achieve anything by rounding up gay guys into one address.
    Those gay men who are there might be attacked every so often, but I'm sure they are also touching others and changing the minds of those around them in the Red State slowly but surely.
    I watched "Gandhi' recently again. There's a lot to be learnt from this great man, who didn't tolerate violence, nor bore grudges. He achieved what he envisioned for India, through perseverence and not being afraid.

    Posted by: pat | Aug 3, 2006 12:31:29 PM

  11. The bottom line is that this is just a very sad and horrific story about the failure of our society to teach children not to hate and/or fear what they don't understand so they don't grow up to be hate mongering idiots. I partially agree with Jake about not living in a place where minds are narrow and expecting to be accepted, but Jeni's point is clear as well. Getting up and out to NY or L.A. isn't as easy as it might seem, especially to an 18 year old with very little to go on. (would the streets of Hollywood be any better?) But again, if these stupid fuckers that did this to this poor guy had an even moderate sense if humanity and were given the proper tools as kids, maybe they wouldn't have decided to hurt someone simply because they could. Yes, this happens in "Bumblefuck USA" but it happens in San Diego CA also. Don't get me wrong, these assholes deserve the harshest possible punishment. But kids aren't born knowing hate, that's something that is taught.

    Posted by: Ric | Aug 3, 2006 12:34:52 PM

  12. Jake, isn't that like blaming the victim of a rape because she "was asking for it"? Maybe she was dressed just a little too much on the sexy side.

    I admit that I'm a coward, and I have chosen to live in a place that's relatively safe. I applaud the people who decide to stay in places not so safe, because they do not wish to be forced to live in a place just because "it's safe".

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Aug 3, 2006 12:41:27 PM

  13. Andy et al,

    Are there organizations that assist GLBT victims of hate crimes if there are challeging medical expenses? If so, an article or comment would allow us to contribute in a way that would allow us to feel a bit more empowered in the face of evil.

    Posted by: KJ | Aug 3, 2006 12:50:54 PM

  14. GREAT idea KJ!

    Posted by: Jeni | Aug 3, 2006 1:01:04 PM

  15. Jake,

    Jeesh, man. Some kid gets his brains beat out and you pull the "it's your fault because you choose to live where you live" line. So I guess Dwan Prince and Kevin Aviance are also to blame (they lived in NYC and were beat down by homophobes)? And like someone said, the kid is 18. So at 18, you should be living the fab life on either coast? You are wrong here Jake. Plain and simple.


    Posted by: James | Aug 3, 2006 1:13:40 PM

  16. Jake,

    I feel very sorry for your point of view. What you wrote was angry, dismissive and cruel. These were kids, not more than 18-20, who probably never had the chance in living outside the walls they grew up in. Kudos for you in being able to afford to move to a city, although as someone pointed out NYC has had his or her share of hate crimes. I grew up in an affluent family, went to private school and eventually to a small highly ranked liberal arts school in central NY. At the time the school got rid of all the fraternity housing and begin admitting more diverse students. This caused a huge conflict between students resulting in a lesbian friend of mine being harassed, her dorm room being spray painted "Dyke", "Queer", "Die bitch die", and eventually her being beaten with beer and liquor bottles bringing her laundry in from her car one evening. I became more vocal after this and was eventually targeted, finding death threats on my car windshield and having been chased into the woods one evening by guys with baseball bats. Fortunately I wasn't physically harmed but I was scared out of my fu*&in' mind and didn't attend my classes, did all my work in my dorm room. I was 19. I received one F because I got help on a final project we were told we couldn't get assistance with, something I would have learned had I gone to my classes. I was placed on probation and never went back. I didn't attend school for eight years and lost a good part of my life. I did go back two years ago and have been working very hard at educating people on equal rights and doing as much as I can to make certain these things do not happen to someone else. Jake, blaming the victim is never the answer. We need to support each other through these hard times...

    Posted by: Cory | Aug 3, 2006 1:35:38 PM

  17. When I read this news, it reminded me of the scenes in Boys Don't Cry, where the protagonist is raped by the group of backwater rednecks. A truly horrible scene, but extremely powerful. What motivates these thugs is what motivates a lot of assaults - power.

    The other film that comes to mind is, of course, Brokeback mountain - Ennis' memory of the 'two old birds' who were mutilated by the towns moral vigilantes. Not to mention Jack's demise at the hands of an "exploding tire".

    The obvious conclusion is that the thugs who perpetrate these crimes have never seen these films, and probably never will. But if they could ever be brought to understand and have perspective on their own behaviour - these two films would be a good start.

    Its sad that those who need enlightenment the most never put themselves in a position where they can experience that change.

    However, as andy has pointed out many times, a huge part of the responsibility lies with the fact that in most of the US - this kind of crime is still ok. Its basically accepted. As long as GOP attorney general incumbents can utter absurdly discriminatory garbage about gay high-school activist clubs being immoral, this crime will continue to occur.

    The parallels between the civil rights struggle and that of gay rights is very striking, and it is the backwater regions that experience change last. I always just substitute "jew" or "black" for gay, in whatever anti-gay comment someone makes, and it would be completely unacceptable.

    For example, kids in the mall still say "that's so gay" - meaning that's so stupid. Its homophobic. What if they said, that's so jewish, or that's so african?

    Until that changes, hate crime against gays won't stop.

    Posted by: Peter | Aug 3, 2006 1:47:03 PM

  18. Just once I'd like to see a story where the attackers pick the wrong mother-fucker and the gay guys beats the living shit out of 'em.

    Posted by: Michael W. | Aug 3, 2006 1:48:00 PM

  19. Well Jake I'm not going to attack you for your post....okay maybe I will…..pull your head out of the sand.
    My partner and I live in rural Alberta “in the middle of nowhere CANADA” with our closest city being 2 hours away. We ranch here in Alberta and that is what my family has done for Four generations since 1912. That is my life and how do you move the ranch to a so called safe place. I can’t remember the last time someone was shot out here (other then a hunting accident maybe) or there has never been a mugging. Can you say that about your safe city?
    I feel we are living our lives to the fullest because this is what we want to do.
    I think by staying on the Family Ranch and not running off to the City we have changed a lot of minds as to what Gay men. There are other men and women out here as well trying to do their part and be positive and product people in our communities. We are Ranchers, Farmers, Paramedics, Truck Drivers and I know people are starting to see us for that. What most people see is what they exposed to on the news reports, pride parades, leather festivals and is that what we want people to think we are “all” about (how we are portrayed by the media). People should not have to run away from there homes, families and the things they love because they are scared to be gay. We have to do our part to make our communities safe by educating people that we are just like everyone else.

    Posted by: ABrancher | Aug 3, 2006 1:55:52 PM

  20. What Jake said, and the way he said it, was out of frustration in hearing about continued violence against gay people. Even more depressing is when it's violence in a location where there's a strong anti-gay atmosphere and little sympathy. But as y'all reminded him, there are neighborhoods in big liberal cities where gay people are targets of violence.
    I too used to dream of having gay organizations to help young gay people escape from "redneck" anti-gay areas and migrate to the "great gay meccas" in New York, San Franisco, etc.--where they'd be safe. But it was only a dream.

    Posted by: Derrick from PHilly | Aug 3, 2006 2:04:51 PM

  21. I say post more of these stories! I still hear idiots saying "when was the last time a homosexual was attacked?" As if?!?

    Posted by: Jason | Aug 3, 2006 2:09:19 PM

  22. This story craps a big one. It speaks to a continued lack of education on the part of society, religious figures, educators, parents and the larger 'gay culture' (cough) about homosexuality and its relation to the larger cultures at work in America.

    Jake's reaction doesn't surprise me. It's a typical flee, fight or fold response option. But don't rebuke Jake too quickly. His response might be the right answer for some young queers, just not all of them. Some queers will leave for the brights lights of the big cities, others will fold (like Ennis in Brokeback) and be beat and live in solitude with small measures of happiness found in friends and family, and some will fight - as Michael W so imagines.

    Young gays in rural areas are much more open and emboldened thanks to the internet. I did a Browse on MySpace a couple of months ago, using my old rural zipcode. When I was growing up there in the 80s, early 90s - there were NO out men or women except for my cousin's crazy butch dyke sister. Now...hell, there are dozens of out under 25 gay gals and guys in a rural area of under 30000 people! I was stunned! My sister and I didn't come out until we moved away. But these kids have the cojones to be it and live it. Frankly, that inspires me far more than the stories of beatings frightens me. These kids do more for advancing awareness and understanding in the larger culture than any clever HRC tactic ever will.

    (That said, as I read this NM story, I wondered what on earth this guy was doing around these people? We gays have got to stick together and protect each other! But I then I remembered some of the shady characters I associated with in my rural days - or even now! - and shut myself up.)

    So let's not get too despondent. The beatings and attacks are evil - but evil exists so that we can see, understand, grow and appreciate the good. And there's a lot of good in the world.

    Posted by: Ben | Aug 3, 2006 2:37:12 PM

  23. Michael W., I'd sure like to see a high profile case where the bashers get what's coming to them. It'd be nice to set an example for the straight community not to fuck with us anymore because we'll beat the ever-living shit out of them if they do.

    Posted by: Tread | Aug 3, 2006 2:48:26 PM

  24. This story breaks my heart. I grew up in rural Georgia, surrounded by the same sort of bigots discussed in this article. Fortunately I never suffered physical violence, but I had more than my fair share of verbal harassment both because I am smart and because I am gay. I made the move to Atlanta, which is reasonably more gay-friendly than the rest of the state but even here we have gay bashing and more anti-gay voices than my poor heart can bear.

    I remember hearing stories from my mom and my grandparents about "the old days", when a man was found to be beating his wife or children a group of men in the community showed up at his house and gave him a dose of his own medicine. I think that it is time we revived that tradition and started making examples of people that would physically assault a member of our community. Perhaps if the gay bashers themselves kidnapped and beaten to a pulp, left to die in a field then there would be less bashers willing to take the chance.

    Yes, I say let's drag them out and beat them to death, just like was done to Matthew Shepherd. Hang them up like pinatas and keep hitting them until there's nowhere left on their bodies that isn't bloody and broken. Let *their* families endure the horror of having to identify mutilated remains. Let *their* families cry for a change. Let *them* live in fear, always looking over their shoulder and wondering if they could be attacked again.

    Ok, so that's my anger talking. No, I guess I don't want to see anyone hurt, but damnit I am so sick and tired of reading over and over again how we are targeted JUST BECAUSE WE ARE WHAT WE ARE! I wish we could somehow turn the tables and the bigots could live in fear for a change.

    Posted by: Jonathon | Aug 3, 2006 3:47:41 PM

  25. Tread: agreed! I think we should initiate a nation-wide self-defense program. Encourage gays to learn how to fight to protect themselves...if necessary, with's the only way to change the stereotype that a gay is someone you can readily and easily beat up...

    Posted by: Michael W. | Aug 3, 2006 3:47:59 PM

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