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]


  1. Chas says

    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.

  2. OneManComotion says

    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.

  3. John in Manhattan says

    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.


  4. Disgusted American says

    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 died….how much you wanna’d get the Maximum Prison sentence.

  5. Chas says

    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)

  6. JJ says

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

  7. Derrick from Philly says

    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.

  8. Jimmyboyo says

    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

  9. Michael says

    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.

  10. Marco says

    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.

  11. Chas says

    *Pssst*…MICHAEL, MARCO…we were joking. Go back and read the LeBeouf “Faggot” posts and you’ll see what we’re talking about 😉

  12. chad says

    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.

  13. Michael Bedwell says

    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 and……….at:

  14. Chas says

    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.

  15. I before E says

    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.

  16. Sam Gillespie says

    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.

  17. noah says


    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.

  18. excy says

    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.

  19. says

    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.

  20. kipp says

    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.

  21. Michael says

    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?

  22. Scott X says

    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.

  23. Puddy Katz says

    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.

  24. Chas says

    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?

  25. Bill Perdue, RainbowRED says


    I’d say this was a perfect opportunity for the Obama and Clinton Democrats out there to tell us again why we should support the party that junked the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill because it wasn’t expedient. And why they think we owe the Democrats a favor for junking ENDA after Barney gutted it so they could get ‘contributions’ from money grubbing bigoted business owners.

    We know why Democrat apologists like that stuff. They’re the political equivalent of some of those ‘abused’ spouses who get off on getting smacked around, but why involve us in it?

    OK, now’s a good time to explain why Bill Clinton wasn’t a bigot when he signed DOMA and went on the campaign trail boasting about it. Or why the vast majority of Congressional Democrats voted for it were just doing us a favor.

    And then tell us another story, the one about how DADT was meant to help GLBT service members by tossing them out of the armed forces and sanctioning their harassment and murder. Is that another one of those favors from Dixiecrats Clinton and Nunn and the menagerie of Republican and Democratic bigots on in Congress?

    Are you supporting Obama and the Democrats because you hope they’ll be better in the future? Are you going to force them to be better? How? By wasting you vote on them? Or, as usual, will you end up begging them to be better after you waste you vote on them? And how is that helping advance the GLBT equality agenda?

    Go ahead, explain it to us. After all plenty of people were stupid enough to believe apologists for Reagan, Bush and other Republican bigots. Maybe they’ll believe you.

  26. says

    Even if Moller didn’t intend to kill Kennedy, a life was lost and that can’t be undone. A young gay man doesn’t get a second chance. A young hateful man does. A disgustingly unfair sentence, and he may even get off a little early on parole.

    BTW, it was clear to me that Chas and John in Manhattan’s comments were not meant to be taken a face value, but I guess out of context they could be misinterpreted. There are trolls here, but these guys are on our side.

  27. Chas says

    OK…Now why exactly did you address that diatribe to me, Bill? Did I miss something?

    And thanks Ernie. I’m glad you got it.

  28. noah says

    There was no excuse for Bill Clinton’s bragging about DOMA or is telling John Kerry to back a federal amendment banning gay marriage to win in 2004. It’s one of the reasons why I finally decided not to support Hillary Clinton and chose John Edwards first.

    As for ENDA, with enough Democrats in Congress and a Democrat will be able to pass it.

    Do you honestly think that John McCain and the religious right would actually do a better job of delivering for the GLBT community??

    Look at McCain’s record. He’s not been a friend of the gays. He also has a terrible record on women’s rights (including his treatment of his first wife and calling his second wife a c*nt in public).

    If you want to influence the Democratic Party, get involved more.

  29. Scott X says

    Puddy Katz:

    I believe that punishment for wrongdoing is an appropriate response. Prison sentences, though, are relatively weak deterrents. Punishment and retribution, I believe, are not one and the same. Punishment meted out as retribution may appeal to the “eye for an eye” instinct but it doesn’t necessarily produce the same degree of community or social good that punishment guided by recognition that the vast majority of criminals will return home. I believe that we’re better off if, punishment also includes efforts to decrease the risk of recidivism and includes some restorative efforts with the victim’s family and community.

  30. Patrick says

    Fact is you could rob a liquor store and get much more than this sentence. It may not be murder, but it deserves a hell of a lot longer than 3 years with time served.

  31. says

    Sean Kennedy was punched so hard by Stephen Moller that it broke every bone in his face and separated his brain stem.

    I didn’t want to post on this thread because some of the previous comments here appall me. But the poster Kipp’s comments are not accurate.

    Kennedy didn’t just hit his head. Moller intended him grave harm just for being gay.

    This sentence is a travesty.

  32. Ty says

    It figures, South Carolina is super backwoods deliverance style place…
    Do not go there.

  33. nic says

    SCOTT X,

    and yada, yada, yada… your next.

    NOAH and BILL should get a room. they’re so perfectly delusional, so perfect for each other.

  34. Jimbo says

    Oh Chas and John, what knee slappers you are. I can barely see my laptop screen for tears of laughter! Actually, few things are sadder than people who think they’re funny, but are not. And dear Christ: you two losers are as funny as nails down a blackboard. Like bad body odour someone needs to take you aside and tell you before you witlessly bore one more person. OK, it’s me: GET A CLUE.

  35. JORDY says

    Hey, I used to live in South Carolina. It’s not Eden; there’s a lot of bigotry, a lot of ignorance, and a lot of racism/sexism/homophobia. But pretending that injustice like this only happens in the “backwoods” South is delusional. I now live in the “gay paradise” of Boston, and I’ve heard my share of gay slurs spewing forth here, just in a different accent. I haven’t seen anybody get punched in the face yet, but that’s just three or four beers away.

  36. Derrick from Philly says

    No one who has posted on this thread is insensitive to the injustice of what happened to Mr Kennedy. No one. We deal with injustice and persecution in our own ways.

  37. helenvanderhelen says

    I am absolutely disgusted by this and ashamed to be a native South Carolinian! Maybe Moller DIDN’T mean to kill Kennedy but the sad fact is he did and has not been properly punished…The article in The Greenville News this morning only reiterates what a hateful, bigoted asshole Moller is….

  38. otto says

    Oh the bitching…Maybe if you guys stopped bitching and started doing something?



  39. Andrew says

    BTW-I was born in SC-so for all the idiots out there. I went to Oxford and Harvard. Visit SC sometime-you may learn something. We are tired of the ‘Guido’ defense. Yawn.

  40. Ugh says

    Of course Kennedy’s death is an unfortunate tragedy, and the douche that punched him needs to do some time. HOWEVER…according to the evidence, he did not “murder” Kennedy. He punched him in the face, and Kennedy unfortunately hit his head on the concrete and died. This is different (though no less tragic) than if he had shot him with a gun or something. Knee-jerk reactions don’t help “our cause,” and putting this dude in jail for life for murder would DEFINITELY have been asking for “special rights” for gay victims.

  41. Jeanluc says

    If there was no intent to kill him, then it actually is involuntary manslaughter. I don’t agree with reducing his sentence, but if the intent (which is what such laws are based on) wasn’t there, then he didn’t deserve to be charged with murder.

    Legally speaking…

  42. Danni says

    I am just in utter shock that my friend was punched in the face for being gay. I feel that Moller did not intend on killing Sean, but he still should spend more time in jail then he will. I also think the case wasn’t handled in the best of terms either. For example, Moller’s friends that were with him that night got immunity and didn’t get charged with anything. Also the people that were at the bar that night had refused to testify to what had happened that night. That is what kills me to this day is that the whitenesses that were there are/will not come forward. This just proves that SC needs a hate crime bill. The problem with the south is that people want to make just a gay issue, it isn’t its a human right issue. I knew Sean personally and it still kills me to this day that he is gone. He was one of the most loving and caring people I have ever met. So many people cared for him! Over 300 were at his wake last year! I urge everybody to support Elke in this fight!

  43. Danni says

    I am just in utter shock that my friend was punched in the face for being gay. I feel that Moller did not intend on killing Sean, but he still should spend more time in jail then he will. I also think the case wasn’t handled in the best of terms either. For example, Moller’s friends that were with him that night got immunity and didn’t get charged with anything. Also the people that were at the bar that night had refused to testify to what had happened that night. That is what kills me to this day is that the whitenesses that were there are/will not come forward. This just proves that SC needs a hate crime bill. The problem with the south is that people want to make just a gay issue, it isn’t its a human right issue. I knew Sean personally and it still kills me to this day that he is gone. He was one of the most loving and caring people I have ever met. So many people cared for him! Over 300 were at his wake last year! I urge everybody to support Elke in this fight!

  44. Ted says

    I appreciate various forms of humor, but in my opinion this particular story is not the place for many of the comments posted which purport to be ironic commentaries.

    So many posts until Danni hit the nail on the head, the lack of a hate crimes bill in SC is the reason the jerk only got 3 years.

  45. autrsc says

    ALL crime is hate crime. Ultimately hate crime laws dilute the heart of the matter and make an already-too-complex legal system just that much harder to navigate.
    Gays have been used, and are continuing to be used as a wedging device for politicians.
    The existing laws that are on the books today should be enforced. Assault is assault. It doesn’t matter who is assaulted, on a very fundamental level, it takes hate to inflict violence on another human being.
    I think that by the letter of what was charged, the sentence may have been within quidelines. The real travesty for me in this case is the fact that he was only charged with a single crime. Why wasn’t “assault and battery” an additional charge? “Fighting in public”? “Disorderly conduct”? etc. The lack of other charges says that the prosecution was not serious about this crime. For drug charges, multiple charges are always brought forward. Same with virtually all sex crimes as well. Should have been the same here. Charge with all possibly applicable crimes, heap them on and go for the maximum sentence…really give the defense attorneys a challenge to earn their blood money.

  46. Speedball says

    South Carolina is a fucking haven for murders of any kind…i live in this state and right now im not feeling very happy or proud with this…the system in this state is do as you may and you will get a slap on the wrist…we have lots of crimes these days and all these people are getting is stay home with a ankle bracelet on your leg…and when we get around trying you we will give you a call…hell this state cant even give the death penalty right…this boy, and yes boy should have gotten an easy 25 yr to life in prison for this heinous crime oh no because he killed a faggot in this religous state and in the most populous part of the Bible belt, he gets only 3 yrs…what a crock of shit !..the boy who killed his grandparent at age 13-14 got 30 yrs…people this is wrong…!!…this judicious sysytem in this state needs to be overhauled as well as the judges and the courts system…we even have the death penalty and the ones who are getting fried are the ones who did a murder job many years ago….any new muder cases are all life any more and has been for the last 10 yrs….besides why didnt the feds try this mouller person as a gay crime….it is a fed law at least i thought it was….i am really outraged at this state for this kind of embarrasament…..