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Michigan Killer of Gay Man Guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter


Steven Scarborough, a 22-year-old Tennessee man, who faced a felony murder charge that carries a life without parole sentence in the killing of 62-year-old Victor Manious in Grand Rapids, Michigan, got off easily yesterday when a jury found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter which carries a maximum 15 years in prison.

ManiousmurderScarborough's attorneys used a "gay panic" defense, suggesting that the murder was a reaction to Manious' sexual advances. Prosecutors had said that Scarborough lured Manious from a gay bar to his friend's apartment with intent to rob him, but ended up murdering him. Manious' body was found in the trunk of his car, and Scarborough spent the days following the murder shopping, traveling, and dining with Manious' credit cards.

The Grand Rapids Press reports: "Upon hearing the verdict, Scarborough hugged his lawyer, Paul Denenfeld, and smiled. His mother, Veronica Hand, in court with her husband, Michael, wept. Grand Rapids Police Detective Kristen Rogers, who interviewed Scarborough once he was apprehended, put her head in her hands. Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Helen Brinkman said she would tell the Manious family she did her best. 'I just wish the jury would have known about his previous record and that he came to Michigan to flee the conviction,' she said. Denenfeld said the jury was aware of his previous record and obviously believed that he was a victim of an assault."

Verdict in Steven Scarborough case: Guilty of voluntary manslaughter of Victor Manious [the grand rapids press]

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  1. Yet another reason that I won't spend money in Michigan. Too bad, I was planning a trip to Saugatuck.

    Posted by: Tread | Apr 11, 2008 8:43:57 AM

  2. I would say "Unbelievable!" but I'd be lying. My faith in humanity is at an all-time low...

    Posted by: Michael W. | Apr 11, 2008 9:03:19 AM

  3. I will NEVER go to Michigan...this is just ANOTHER reason to NEVER go there. Fuck them...another "Hatin",Bigoted state in this country to avoid!

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Apr 11, 2008 9:18:53 AM

  4. Imagine what the verdict may have been if this were a country that prized fact based comprehensive compulsory sex education throught primary and secondary school. Maybe, just maybe, an educated jury would have seen through the homosexual panic defense.

    Posted by: Robert | Apr 11, 2008 9:23:58 AM

  5. Absolutely horrible. It should remind us of the criminal trials down south when murderers and rapists were acquitted because of the race of the victim. Today, in some parts of this country, I guess gay people's lives are less valuable too.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Apr 11, 2008 9:25:19 AM

  6. Who was giving him a blow job while her was using stolen credit cards?

    Posted by: David T | Apr 11, 2008 9:43:12 AM

  7. I live in Lansing...about fifty miles from Grand Rapids. Andy's coverage of this is the first I've heard about it. Grand Rapids is home to the Reformed of the most conservative Protestant denominations, so the verdict doesn't really surprise me. I'm tempted to tell "Disgusted American" to try to be a little less dismissive of an entire state, but I'll avoid that direct confrontation.

    Michigan is a bit of a mess—both economically and socially. Our Republican Senate is fiscally obstructionist and our Republican Attorney General is a homophobic prick. (His last name is Cox!) The frightening thing is that he’s angling to be the next governor. Oh, yeah, don’t forget that our voters decided to make civil unions essentially illegal…and to outlaw affirmative action! Hmm, maybe “Disgusted American” has a point.

    Posted by: JT | Apr 11, 2008 9:46:09 AM

  8. This is alarming. Keep in mind that seven years of the Bush Administration packing the courts with right wing social conservatives both trickles down, and does nothing to weed out existing biases against gays and lesbians. This was a state-sanctioned murder of a gay man in cold blood -- the victim was lured out of a gay bar, unlike Matthew Shepherd, who was looking for sex in a straight bar. I'm not blaming Shepherd for his death, but rather drawing a comparison. Scarborough was even "more guilty" than those punks in Wyoming. Mr. Manious was an older, "ethnic" man unlikely to get the sympathy of the gay community, just like he didn't get any from the jury. He should, and we should be pissed.

    Posted by: Joe H | Apr 11, 2008 9:53:46 AM

  9. Any thinking person would find it suspect that he had the body in the trunk of his car. Why didn't he just go straight to the police?

    Posted by: Scott | Apr 11, 2008 10:05:00 AM

  10. well a few years of forced sodomy on him will bring this psychopath a new point of view. Karma is a bitch y'all

    Posted by: Richard S | Apr 11, 2008 10:25:40 AM

  11. This is disgusting. Democrats--please don't disenfranchise Michigan in the primary now. That will only send more Michigaders over to the Republican side. We need them on our side--100%

    Rest in peace, Victor Manious. Your death by a hate crime could have been any of ours.

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Apr 11, 2008 10:34:45 AM

  12. "State-sanctioned murder"? Obviously, the prosecutors and the detectives on this case would disagree since they investigated and prosecuted the killer.

    The problem is the jury. Their bigotry led them to this conclusion. The defense attorney successfully painted a portrait of the murder victim as an evil, homo-rapist who victimized a young man. Look at the victim. He was an older, Egyptian/Arab man. Then look at the killer. He is a young, handsome white guy. Don't you think that race played some part in the jury's mind, consciously or subconsciously?

    Over the last few months the Clinton campaign engaged in vicious race-baiting to win. The campaign has used racial hatred to create a wedge issue. Many liberals had no problem with Geraldine Ferraro's comments. Yeah, no one has died. But it's the same kind of xenophobic hatred that has historically led to discrimination, violence, and murder. (I have no problem attacking a candidate for his/her policy positions or other factors but attacking someone based on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, color, or religion, and it's a different story.)

    In the 2004 presidential campaign, the Rethugs sent thousands of mailings that promised that gays would destroy the nuclear family to Bible Belt homes. The fear mongering and hatred brought millions of people to the polls to vote for Rethug candidates. What was the legacy of this hateful campaign tactic that demonized and dehumanized gay Americans? People like the jurors who couldn't look at murder victim as a real human being. They didn't look at the man who had a family, friends, and a good life.

    Instead, they saw a homosexual, who led a secret, perverted life and must have been a predator who would knock out and orally rape a nice young man. Add on the murder victim's race and otherness as a foreigner and you have the perfect storm for a miscarriage of justice.

    What happened in Michigan could happen almost anywhere. People like the jurors could be like people at your office or sitting across from you in class or riding on the train next to you. Substitute race or religion or ethnicity for sexuality and injustice is still injustice.

    Miscarriages of justice happen every day: The person denied a job. The kid who is bullied and beaten. The innocent person falsely accused and incarcerated. Unless people make a stand against bigotry in all its forms, nothing will change.

    Posted by: noah | Apr 11, 2008 11:04:12 AM

  13. Hey JT - yes, your state of Michigan is VERY far as the "miniscule" of equality it offers...which is barely ZILCH...cracks me up to see Jeff Daniels pushing Businesses to come to Michigan...Yea, ONLY IF you're Heterosexual..with ONLY heterosexual employees...because if you're gay forget RIGHTS.

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Apr 11, 2008 11:39:13 AM

  14. well like i said yesterday, us old queens and anybody else for that matter better be careful of the young eye candy ... maybe we should start a national registry for queen killers like the straights do for the child molesters... is there a queen killer in your neighborhood?

    Posted by: the queen | Apr 11, 2008 11:52:25 AM

  15. Even in 2008, "gay panic defense" still works like a charm!


    Posted by: Zeke | Apr 11, 2008 12:12:58 PM

  16. While this is certainly an atrocity, please don't punish the whole state. Come to Saugatuck Tread and see that everyone can't be thrown together in the same category. Saugatuck/Douglas is such a wonderful haven and so different from much of the State. (country for that matter).
    This is just one more example of the result of not only mixing church and state but church running state.

    Posted by: MIGregg | Apr 11, 2008 12:17:13 PM

  17. I'm stunned!

    Posted by: Chris | Apr 11, 2008 1:54:07 PM

  18. Noah:
    Many liberals had no problem with Geraldine Ferrarro's comments because they know who she is. She's been saying for decades that she would not have been the vice presidential nominee if she were male. I read her comment as saying the same thing about Obama that she has repeatedly said about herself. Younger people and those with convenient memories objected to her statement because they do not understand who she is and apparently do not know that neither Clinton nor Obama would be where they are now if not for her. Although the words said could be interpreted as racist, only someone with no knowledge of who Ferrarro is would give her words that interpretation. The Obama campaign succeeded in making an issue out of this because so many of his supporters are young, ignorant about politics, or both.

    And using this travesty of justice to slam the Clinton campaign is simply insane. This is an Emmett Till verdict. That's the race connection here.

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | Apr 11, 2008 2:10:37 PM

  19. I wonder how the little shit will handle all the new attention he'll be experiencing in prison? Rip him a new one boys.

    Posted by: Lucky Pierre | Apr 11, 2008 2:15:34 PM

  20. Disgusting? Absolutely! Surprising? Unfortunately, not at all. Juries all too often are little more than an expression of collective prejudice.

    Posted by: rudy | Apr 11, 2008 2:27:38 PM

  21. And, on the humorless scold theme, I find the jokes about prison rape pretty offensive. It's an evil we should be fighting, not a perverted form of justice or a subject for snickers.

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | Apr 11, 2008 2:36:47 PM

  22. MIGregg,

    I would gladly visit Saugatuck if you voted to secede from your homophobic, backwoods state.

    Posted by: Tread | Apr 11, 2008 2:48:00 PM

  23. ha landon, get real .... prison rape is par for the course behind bars -- you know those men get awfully lonely and frisky... besides it's the perfect karma for the little bastard and he'll probably get it twice on sundays...

    Posted by: the queen | Apr 11, 2008 4:32:04 PM

  24. last week at a bar a heterosexual woman made passes at me.
    it totally freaked me out, and made me feel kinda sick... so i killed her.

    Posted by: A.J. | Apr 11, 2008 4:38:59 PM

  25. Thank you Landon, on both Ferraro (and I'm an Obama supporter) and prison rape.

    Posted by: David R. | Apr 11, 2008 7:05:50 PM

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