Crime | News | South Carolina

Moller Gets 3 Years for 2007 Murder of Sean William Kennedy

Stephen Moller, who delivered a fatal punch to Sean William Kennedy after taunting him with anti-gay slurs in May 2007 outside a Greenville, South Carolina bar, appeared in court today to enter a plea and receive his sentence:

Kennedy2"Moller was originally charged with murder in the case. However, in November 2007 a Greenville County grand jury handed down an indictment for a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter against Moller. Moller appeared in a Greenville County courtroom on Wednesday afternoon where he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge. Judge Ned Miller sentenced Moller to five years in prison, but suspended his sentence to three years with credit for the seven months in prison he has already served. The judge also ordered Moller to attend both anger management and drug/alcohol management classes. Moller must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole."


Judge Sets Bond for Killer of Sean William Kennedy [tr]
Hundreds Attend Vigil for Slain South Carolina Gay Man [tr]
SC Hate Crime: Mother of Sean Kennedy Speaks Out [tr]
Arrest Made in South Carolina Gay Man's Murder [tr]
South Carolina Gay Man Dies in Potential Hate Crime Assault [tr]

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  1. And justice for all. The scumbag is damned lucky he got manslaughter instead of murder, though. Kinda wish he hadn't.

    I'm waiting for the same guys who were so adamant about the "hotness" of being berated by a straight guy in the LeBeouf posts to tell us how sexy they think Moller is.

    Posted by: Chas | Jun 11, 2008 4:43:00 PM

  2. With the price of everything going up and up in this world, why is not the value of an individuals life going in the same direction? The reason I equate life with material goods is that if I did not read this site, I would have never known about this injustice but would have been up to par on the price of tomatoes...that I can't even eat, lately, because of coruption in this country.

    Posted by: OneManComotion | Jun 11, 2008 4:43:05 PM

  3. Kennedy was a faggot. I'm sure Moller was just joking with him and didn't mean to kill him. Even if he did, whatever. You guyz are so politically correct. Lighten up and get a life. I mean, I'd do Moller in a heartbeat! He's HOT and so not gay. Kennedy, not so much.

    Can we get another Chace Crawford posting in here? I have a boner.


    Posted by: John in Manhattan | Jun 11, 2008 4:44:17 PM

  4. How much you wanna bet - if you fought with somebody who was say "uber" religious...and were calling them names."Buy-Bull beater" etc...then pushed them..they fell...banged thier head and much you wanna'd get the Maximum Prison sentence.

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Jun 11, 2008 4:48:25 PM

  5. JOHN, Chace Crawford is too faggy looking. I vote Brody Jenner instead. Now THERE's a hot piece of all-man, all-STRAIGHT beef! BROMANCE ME BRODY!

    (with you on the ugh)

    Posted by: Chas | Jun 11, 2008 4:51:03 PM

  6. 5 years to 3 years to around 2 1/2 years for murder. Very disgusting. That judge should be removed.

    Posted by: JJ | Jun 11, 2008 4:52:07 PM

  7. Is a gay man's (or gay woman's) life as important as a white heterosexual man's life? Not yet....not in South Carolina, not in Massachusettes, not in Michigan. Maybe a few big cities are getting there, but not most of the country.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jun 11, 2008 4:55:02 PM

  8. 5 years to 3 years??????????? for murder and good beahior cuts that in half to 1.5 years then take out the 7 months already served = 11 more months in jail


    possesion of crack gets longer sentences

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Jun 11, 2008 4:56:55 PM

  9. Andy, thanks for all the hard work you do. I find myself checking in to your blog all day at work. That having been said, it's incredibly disheartening to read the comments of your other viewers. What a bunch of insensitive pricks. As a gay man, of course I want equal rights, but I'd rather move to another country which already has them. The United States has clearly reached a state of critical intolerance from both sides. Racist, homophobic, disgusting, awful people, who couldn't and won't fight for their own place in the world because they're so selfish. I don't believe they should ever receive what they think they deserve.

    Posted by: Michael | Jun 11, 2008 5:03:06 PM

  10. I'd like to think a few of the above comments are from asshole trolls.

    I hope so, anyway.

    3 years. That's how much we're worth.

    Posted by: Marco | Jun 11, 2008 5:10:34 PM

  11. *Pssst*...MICHAEL, MARCO...we were joking. Go back and read the LeBeouf "Faggot" posts and you'll see what we're talking about ;)

    Posted by: Chas | Jun 11, 2008 5:15:25 PM

  12. i guess some of you have forgotten what happened to other gay teens like matthew shepard. here's another son taken away from his family because of bigotry and hate and the the perp gets 3 effin years. for those who make light of this subject, seriously, this is not one topic that should be taken lightly. the us of a could not even pass a bill on climate change... hate crime bill --dim chances i say.

    Posted by: chad | Jun 11, 2008 5:22:13 PM

  13. Video of the plea, his "apology" to Sean's family, the sentencing, lawyers' conflicting comments, and Sean's Mother's statements at:

    Mrs. Kennedy has crisscrossed the country raising awareness and money for the Gay American Heroes project founded to create a traveling exhibit that will educate the public about the ultimate harvest of sowing the seeds of hatred. I urge everyone to contribute what they can in memory of Sean and Matthew and Gwen and Lawrence and Sammie and and and and

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jun 11, 2008 5:26:15 PM

  14. I'm not making light of the subject, I'm making light of those who would make light of the subject because the only thing they're in touch with is their dicks.

    Posted by: Chas | Jun 11, 2008 5:26:58 PM

  15. Great post, JOHNINMANHATTAN... Let's see, I'll do just what you say. I'll lighten up, and get a life... I'll take yours and toss it in the toilet, since it clearly has no value to you, and you clearly are no value to anyone else.

    Posted by: I before E | Jun 11, 2008 5:30:35 PM

  16. Just as a reminder, it was in Irmo, South Carolina that the Principal resigned rather than allow a gay-straight alliance/group form on the campus.

    Posted by: Sam Gillespie | Jun 11, 2008 5:40:26 PM

  17. Michael,

    I think some of the posters were being sarcastic, gallows humor and all.

    I hope that people take note of this injustice and understand that like it or not, gays, white, Asian, black, Native American, and Latino, are not seen as valuable as straight people, in particular heterosexual white males. How many times have you heard about straight white guys getting away with murdering gay men and getting these kinds of sentences?

    Whether it's a "Twinkie" or gay panic defense, a gay man's murder will take lesser precedence and his killer will receive a lighter sentence it seems. Last year there was the case of the closeted man in Michigan whose killer stole his credit cards and went on spending spree. What kind of sentence did the killer get?

    This is why the GLBT community needs to focus on beating McCain in November. If he wins, McCain will not appoint sympathetic jurists to federal seats on the bench. McCain won't champion federal legislation to make this kind of murder a hate crime that could be tried by the Justice Department.

    For all of the bigotry we've seen over the last few months of the Democratic primary, I hope this sentence serves as a wake up call to realize the hypocrisy of the racism shown. Belief in white superiority is false and is even a bigger, dangerous lie for the average gay white male. Before the law, your sexuality will not knock you down the social ladder.

    Marriage rights are important but laws to protect your life and liberty, like hate crimes legislation, and protection against discrimination in employment and housing are even more crucial. If those laws can happen on a federal level, then a lot of people can live their lives in less fear. In places like the South where there aren't hate crimes laws to protect gays, federal law would, again, allow prosecution.

    The latter point is important if you think about how the federal government stepped in when states refused to prosecute racially motivated killings. Racist murders from the 1960s have been charged and convicted in recent years under federal civil rights statutes.

    Posted by: noah | Jun 11, 2008 5:41:01 PM

  18. Indeed, a sad state of affairs. Three years....disgusting and so NOT a deterrent for future acts of hatred driven murder. South Carolina should be ashamed of their justice system. Oh well, one more place to strike off my list of tourist destinations.

    Posted by: excy | Jun 11, 2008 5:41:14 PM

  19. Come on GLBT community...Where's the OUTRAGE?

    Posted by: Kevin | Jun 11, 2008 5:51:16 PM

  20. Since he got basically the same sentence as Dan White did 30+ years ago for murdering Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone perhaps he'll do society a favor and quietly kill himself like Dan White did when he was released. Just like all closet cases he'll enjoy all that prison has to offer I'm sure.
    Didn't South Carolina just get sodomy laws off the books? Pathetic.

    Posted by: SFshawn | Jun 11, 2008 5:56:50 PM

  21. This guy wasn't convicted of murder because he didn't murder Kennedy. He punched Kennedy and, when Kennedy fell, he hit his head and died of that trauma. If Moller had been black or his victim had been a father or a daughter or some other "innocent" his sentence would have been longer - but I think the charge of involuntary manslaughter, at least, is the correct one. Moller is an asshole but I don't think he intended to kill Kennedy when he punched him - even if he called him a faggot in the process.

    Posted by: kipp | Jun 11, 2008 6:04:52 PM

  22. I'm not trying to be a hypocrite in condemning all Americans to their fate, but on a much larger scale, can we honestly look back at world history and say that our country is any better than the Romans and their crusades that brought about the Dark Ages, slaughtering or "conforming" all those who opposed the Christian God? We've done the same in Africa, South America, and in the Islands all over the world. Has that brought us all to a better place? Politics destroys us through religion. Always has. Probably always will. We are unpopular as a nation in a "modern world" we mostly created though indoctrination and destruction of indigenous culture. What can be worse than that? That we can't get married, which is really about property and materialism (at least, that was it's original purpose until people started marrying for love around the time of birth of poetry)? The big picture is this: we live in a dying world and most of that is our invention as Americans, and especially New Yorkers. It's a conundrum. And it's heart-breaking. And the death of a child at the hands of another is nothing to take lightly or to joke about, especially in a public forum. Cuz if someone like me is offended by it's insensitivity, imagine what someone else, unused to the dry humor and sarcasm of jaded gays, must be thinking.

    It's a long rant, I know, but isn't anyone else afraid? Can't anyone else see that we're speeding toward our own demise as an educated human race with our pedal to the metal?

    Posted by: Michael | Jun 11, 2008 6:10:12 PM

  23. I have concerns that the sentence may have been affected by the victim's sexuality, although one would need to compare it with the judge's sentences for manslaughter cases. I don't believe, however, that the case qualified as murder from a legal standpoint (culpability, malice aforethought, etc.). He deserves to be incarcerated. But, this kid, like most other criminals, will eventually return to the community--whether it is in 3 years, 5 years, or 25 years. Justice should not just promote retribution, but also decrease the likelihood that someone will engage again in criminal behavior. Time behind bars that doesn't include anger management counseling, confrontation of bigotry and stereotypes, and self-examination with some hope to make amends to everyone affected (victim's family, perpetrator's family, the larger community) usually produces career criminals. I hope that his mandated counseling forces him to confront the widespread damage he has done, modify his beliefs, and change his behavior.

    Posted by: Scott X | Jun 11, 2008 6:10:33 PM

  24. Scott X
    I agree that this was manslaughter and not murder and since I don't know what the average sentence in South Carolina is for manslaughter (first conviction) then I can't say if this is "fair" or not.
    But why shouldn't sentencing involve retribution, or punishment. (Are they the same thing.) People who do wrong should be appropriately punished. Also, shouldn't the sentence serve as a deterence to others. Regardless of whether this is the average sentence for first time manslaughter in South Carolina it does sent the message that it is ok if you rough up a queer cause even if you do and he accidently dies you will only get three years.

    Posted by: Puddy Katz | Jun 11, 2008 6:22:33 PM

  25. I'll say this once more: Anyone who was upset by mine and/or John's comments should go back and read the LaBeouf comments.

    And the kind of head-in-the-sand, sausage hound mentality that we're lampooning has every thing to do with cases like this one. When gay men--GAY MEN--have the audacity to not only say they're more than willing to forgive outright homophobia if the homophobe is "cute" but that they also find said homophobia "HOTT", they make the world even more dangerous for the rest of us, ESPECIALLY younger, "out" gay men like Sean William Kennedy. Do you see the connection?

    Posted by: Chas | Jun 11, 2008 6:22:41 PM

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