Crime | Military | News | Pennsylvania

Internet Tryst Leads to Murder of Gay Pennsylvania Army Veteran

Goucher

The body of Michael Goucher, a 21-year-old Pennsylvania man and Army veteran who had been missing since February 3 was found in a wooded area in rural PA southeast of Scranton on Wednesday: "Shawn Freemore, 19, of Upper Rock Ledge Estate was arrested Wednesday and charged with the murder of Michael Goucher, 21, eight days after Goucher was last seen alive."

Goucher had served "in the U.S. Army as a convoy driver and mechanic stationed in Alaska" in 2006, according to relatives, and had returned to Pennsylvania where he was working as a custodian. Now more details have emerged in the tragic chain of events:

FreemoreThe Pocono Record reports: "Goucher disappeared on the night of Feb. 3 after leaving his Morningside Avenue apartment to go meet a friend, according to information gathered by Stroud Area Regional Police. His body was discovered more than a week later, around noon on Wednesday in a wooded area off Stoney Run Lane — about a quarter mile from where his missing car was reported to police the day before. State police said in court papers that Freemore admitted to killing Goucher and gave the following account of the events leading up to Goucher’s murder: Freemore said he had met the victim last month and that the two men had a sexual encounter inside the victim’s car off of Snow Hill Road. Freemore said another meeting was arranged for the night of Feb. 3 into early Feb. 4. Shortly after midnight, the two men met and Freemore said the victim tried to have sex with him, but Freemore refused and got out of the car. When Goucher followed, Freemore stabbed him in the neck, he said. He then admitted to forcing Goucher into the woods, stabbing him several more times and then taking his car keys. He covered the body with snow. Police said a knife and a cleaver were found near the victim’s body. Coroner Dave Thomas told police the body was stabbed about 20 times. Freemore told police he drove the victim’s car to the spot where it was discovered and then walked home, throwing his pants and shirt into the woods."

Goucher's aunt and uncle, who raised him since the age of 14, talk about their nephew, along with a local news report, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via pocono record)

And a news report via WNEP:

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Comments

  1. From the looks of Freemore, a toxicology screen is in order. Looks like meth to me.

    What a horrible tragedy. Wouldn't it be great if people (straight or gay) were a little less freaky and judgemental about sex? In my estimation, it would make it easier for people to feel comfortable talking to friends about who and where they're hooking up.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Feb 13, 2009 1:15:52 PM


  2. I'm sorry, this is so very wrong, but I'm getting so very sick of gay bashings...

    HANG THE FUCKER UP BY HIS BALLS IN THOSE SAME WOODS, SMEAR HIM WITH GREASE AND LEAVE HIM TO THE BEARS

    Posted by: Christopher Buczek | Feb 13, 2009 1:18:31 PM


  3. How utterly heartbreaking. Long before the inception of the internet gay men have been hooking up through classified ads and cruising spots with sometimes horrific results. The aunt and uncle in the video above are right, all it takes is one time and you shouldn't trust anyone you just meet. I hope this isn't going to be another "gay panic" defense. I'm curious as to why anyone would bring a knife and a meat cleaver to a hookup unless they meant to do harm to someone. I'm just saying.

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | Feb 13, 2009 1:20:41 PM


  4. How utterly heartbreaking. Long before the inception of the internet gay men have been hooking up through classified ads and cruising spots with sometimes horrific results. The aunt and uncle in the video above are right, all it takes is one time and you shouldn't trust anyone you just meet. I hope this isn't going to be another "gay panic" defense. I'm curious as to why anyone would bring a knife and a meat cleaver to a hookup unless they meant to do harm to someone. I'm just saying.

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | Feb 13, 2009 1:22:20 PM


  5. Jesus Christ. Freemore stabbed Goucher 20 times? What a brutal and heartless son of a bitch.

    Posted by: Tread | Feb 13, 2009 1:23:30 PM


  6. The song on his myspace is heartbreaking.

    http://www.myspace.com/mikeyestbg

    Posted by: max | Feb 13, 2009 1:48:11 PM


  7. Stabbing someone 20 times usually suggests passion and hate. Judging from the reports, it appears that Freemore initially met with Goucher for sex, but eventually internalized homophobia and self-hatred led to Freemore lashing out at Goucher. The more homophobic attacks I read about the more it is apparent that the attackers seem to be self hating homosexual.

    Posted by: cj | Feb 13, 2009 1:53:22 PM


  8. The aunt says he "made a stupid mistake". Blaming their nephew for his own death by way of internet dating seems less than helpful. LGBT people in rural areas generally have no way to connect other than online forums and very few straight people bother to contemplate how lonely that existence can be. HIs mistake was not meeting a man from online, but meeting him in the woods.

    Posted by: shychigayguy | Feb 13, 2009 1:56:57 PM


  9. As an erstwhile member of the commentariat here might have said, 'Girls, be careful out there'.

    Posted by: Bading | Feb 13, 2009 2:01:53 PM


  10. So terribly sad. If anyone knows of a point of contact for donations or contributions, please share that.
    There's also a youtube video of Michael's life journey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WdZBu0G_dg&feature=related

    Posted by: grego | Feb 13, 2009 2:11:25 PM


  11. He's going to get a comparatively light sentence due to his age, gay panic defense, and the homophobic bias of the broken justice system. The only thing going against him is the fact that the victim was a vet.

    Prediction: justice will not be served, despite the overwhelming evidence that this was a premeditated vicious murder.

    He's one ugly motherfucker, too.

    Suggestion...

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 13, 2009 2:12:24 PM


  12. Shychiguy, maybe we can cut this poor grieving woman a break. I think we probably all have been reckless in those young and horny years, and we've all probably spoken a little too harshly when we've been hurt.

    Posted by: Yeek | Feb 13, 2009 2:16:50 PM


  13. There are gay bars in the area. Not many, but they are around.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 13, 2009 3:02:32 PM


  14. I hope someone bashes that creature's face in. Maybe he'd look better.

    Posted by: Jason | Feb 13, 2009 3:15:59 PM


  15. Of course they should be allowed to grieve in their own way. I was only noting the tragic thoughtlessness in the typical small town attitude of "Well, that's what you get.". I saw more of that in the video than I did "My poor Michael was brutally murdered by a closeted homophobe.". Reactions like this are the reason so many women keep silent after they are raped.

    The truth could be in the editing, of course.

    Posted by: shychigayguy | Feb 13, 2009 4:11:44 PM


  16. This is such a sad story. I am so glad, however, that his aunt and uncle didn't blame his gayness for his death, but the somewhat risky way hooked up. It's pretty clear that they couldn't care less about his orientation, but just love their nephew and wish he could be back with them.

    Hopefully with them as advocates, the perp will get what he deserves in court.

    And kudos to the Pocono Record for covering this story in a non-judgmental way.

    Posted by: David R. | Feb 13, 2009 4:13:37 PM


  17. Homophobia kills. It's just that simple. The victim here probably thought his best option of having sex was to use the anonymity of the internet, otherwise he could be kicked out of his job as a soldier. The killer had been taught (i) to hate gays and (ii) that killing them isn't that big a deal. Now one man is dead, and the other's life is ruined. All because they were taught by this society that homosexuality is wrong.

    Posted by: Kyle | Feb 13, 2009 4:47:58 PM


  18. I think the killer is gay, too, but probably has issues with self-acceptance. He probably freaked out about the sex and lost it. Ugly thing.

    Posted by: Nick | Feb 13, 2009 5:14:33 PM


  19. I have to agree with Kyle and add that DADT almost certainly had something to do with the selection of the meeting place, if Freemore's story is to be believed.

    Goucher appears to be a bit of a looker and others have commented that Freemore looks as if he could have a drug problem. I can't help but wonder if Goucher turned Freemore down for a repeat and that's what set him off.

    Posted by: Chris | Feb 13, 2009 5:15:07 PM


  20. I don't think DADT had direct impact here. From what I'm understanding, the victim was no longer in the Army. A tragedy nonetheless. I hope we can keep updated on this so that we can know how justice plays out.

    Posted by: Jay | Feb 13, 2009 6:05:27 PM


  21. R.I.P Mike

    Posted by: Dakota | Feb 13, 2009 6:21:20 PM


  22. Heartbreaking. But I think there's a deeper story there.

    Here's what Freemore wrote about his sexuality on his myspace page, "Im 18 and bi, but currently leaning towards guys (sry girls) and just because I like guys doenst mean im one of those flaming "OMG" type of people..in fact..most people are suprised when they find out...kinda funny.."

    Freemore also expressed obsessive personal disdain for the police with expletives 3 times on his page.

    In a story about the victim Goucher, "His lifelong dream was to become a police officer. Family friend and former Stroudsburg police chief Kevin Kelly grew fond of "Junior Chief." Goucher earned that nickname as an elementary school student when emulating Kelly by wearing his own little police uniform and hat...When home on leave, he volunteered in the community by joining the East Stroudsburg Crime Watch. He went on neighborhood bicycle patrols, inspiring fellow Crime Watch members to affectionately call him, "Mike On A Bike."...At the time he was last seen, Goucher had been looking to see where he could apply for police academy training."

    Posted by: Jason87 | Feb 13, 2009 9:12:30 PM


  23. This tragedy has really upset me. I grew up in NE PA and most of my family still lives there. I can remember being in high school in the early 80s. What the culture there told you about being gay was that it was so horrible, so perverted, so freakish that it became nearly impossible to recognize that you were gay. It took several years of deprogramming after I left to realize what being gay really was and who I was and to start living a happy life.

    I have been told that things have gotten better there, and perhaps they have, but this story reminds me that those old views still have hold. As a result one gay man is dead most likely by another gay man who has been warped to self-hatred by that toxic culture.

    How do we let this happen? How do we let the culture maim gay people to the point that they'll hurt other gay folk through violence or through mimicry of the "ex-gay" talking points. This has to stop.

    Posted by: Patrick | Feb 13, 2009 9:26:27 PM


  24. One of the most effective ways I know of to combat this kind of ignorance and hatred is through the PFLAG Speakers Bureau program. Most PFLAG chapters have speakers (GLBT, parent, ally) who go to middle schools, churches, and other groups to present who we are and answer questions. It's a great way to get accurate info to people (who are mostly just ignorant but want good info) and to humanize us.

    If you can volunteer for the Speakers Bureau just once a year you will be making a difference! It's not a lot of time and doesn't cost anything (you may need to take time off from work though) and it makes such a positive difference!!!

    Posted by: David R. | Feb 13, 2009 10:08:24 PM


  25. God, a second horrible story from my area. First the corrupt judges sending kids to jail for kickbacks and now this. Sorry, but I hope the killer is ass raped every day he is in jail. Twenty times? Fuck him every day.....

    Posted by: John | Feb 13, 2009 10:41:55 PM


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