Two Held in Brutal Murder of Gay Florida Man

The body of Ryan Keith Skipper, a 25-year-old man from Winter Haven, Florida, was discovered on a rural road early Wednesday morning. Skipper had been stabbed more than 20 times, because he had reportedly made an advance toward one of his assailants, a man he had picked up hitchhiking according to the Associated Press:


“Skipper was driving around Wahneta on Tuesday and offered [Joseph] Bearden (right) a ride around midnight, the statement said. The two went back to Skipper’s house, where they smoked marijuana and discussed using Skipper’s computer to copy checks, the report said.

The two left Skipper’s house and went to another home where they met [William David] Brown [Jr.] (left) and they all left in Skipper’s car, officials said. Once at the remote location, Brown and Bearden allegedly attacked Skipper in his own vehicle, stabbing him and leaving him along the roadside, Wood said.

BeardenThe suspects allegedly attempted to clean the bloody vehicle and later drove Skipper’s car around and bragged to friends, Wood said.

Skipper’s car was later found abandoned on a dock near Lake Pansy in Winter Haven and Brown’s fingerprints were found inside, she said.”

According to other reports, Skipper’s friends say he was popular and did not go out of his way to cruise hitchhikers, which is what authorities allege, and Skipper’s roommate says that he did not own a laptop and stayed away from drugs since a marijuana possession arrest in 1999 and 2001.

The attackers also attempted to set the car on fire once they abandoned it, but did not succeed.

Floridamurder_2William Brown’s cousin, Ray Allen Brown, was briefly held in connection with the murder, but was released and will likely not be charged. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said a number of witnesses came forward whom Brown and Bearden had told about the murder. It was through one of those witnesses that police were able to determine that Skipper was killed because he was gay. Said Judd: “William Brown told (a witness) that Ryan Skipper was messing with him, that Ryan Skipper was a homosexual, so (he) killed him.”

Authorities are treating the incident as a hate crime. Bearden and Brown have been charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery and, if convicted, could face the death penalty. They are being held without bail and will be arraigned on April 17th.

2 Men Charged in Slaying Ordered Held Without Bail [the ledger]
Authorities: Man Was Killed Because He Was Gay [news4jax]
Men Charged in Wahneta Killing [the ledger]


  1. Brian says

    Rough trade. Scary.

    I’m not buying the “gay guy attacked me” plea. Those two look like they could have protected themselves pretty easily without having to kill Skipper. I call bullshit.

  2. xavier says

    Hopefully, the gay panic excuse will not keep them away from jail. And some gay men still like rough trade? Ugh. They look like they bathe once a week. When pressed.

  3. Luke says

    What a shame and what a horrible way to lose your life. I hope they put these two boobs on death row. And, this is a lesson that needs to be continued, picking up anyone is dangerous, on the road or online, you never know what kind of nut case is out there waiting to prey on you.

  4. mark m says

    Forget the Death penalty. Give ’em prison rape… lots and lots and lots of prison rape.

    Then I suppose an unwanted advance would seem sort of tame huh?

  5. Pooky says

    This happened a couple of hours away from where I live. I see guys like this all the time here in Florida — raised to be near-feral by ignorant parents so afraid of teh gay that they beat the compassion out of the kid when he is little to make him “manly”, withhold all affection and support (except financial — big trucks and their accessories are expensive!), encourage fighting, homophobia, racism, and misogyny, and the boy’s life is only allowed to revolve around huntin’, fishin’, and big, noisy trucks to go muddin’ in.

    If you are unfortunate enough to be around these guys in public, their eating habits are disgusting (manners are gay!), their hygiene questionable (only sissies take care of their bodies! — the skinhead look is IT), and their worldview is about equal to a 5-year old’s: filthy language and bullying others is the norm, big, noisy trucks with boom speakers and reckless driving show how MANLY I am! Education is for sissies! Bitch, get me a beer!

    It’s sad and frightening how common this is here and it makes life for GLBT people very dangerous on a daily basis.

  6. Rev. T. Jones says

    This crime, and all like it, displays the ignorance and hipocracy of today’s society. How many more people must die before we (the GLBTQ community) decide to start defending ourselves? Learn to fight. I did. And let me tell you about a friend of mine. He was dressed in drag when a carload of teenagers pulled up and started harassing him. He faught all four of them and won! When he had the last one on the ground, he put his shoe on the boy’s face and said, “Now go home and tell your daddy that you just got your a– kicked by a fag in a dress and high heels.” (The boys’ girlfriends stayed at the club with us.)
    The point is, if you can fight, you are less likely to be a victim. And you can also help defend those in our community who can’t defend themselves.

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