Crime | Florida | News | Ryan Keith Skipper

Killer of Florida Gay Man Ryan Skipper Found Guilty on All Counts


Joseph Bearden, the first of two men accused in the hate crime murder of Ryan Keith Skipper, has been found guilty on all counts. A jury found Bearden guilty of second-degree murder, theft of a motor vehicle, accessory after the fact to robbery with a weapon, tampering with evidence, and dealing in stolen property.

UPDATE: Bearden sentenced to life in prison. "Prosecutors charged him with first degree murder, but jurors could not find him guilty on that count, or a lesser charge of 2nd degree murder with a weapon."

Skipper In March 2007, Skipper's body was found by the side of a rural road in central Florida with more than 20 stab wounds. His car and laptop had been stolen. The car was abandoned and recovered by authorites, who reported that the assailants had attempted to set it on fire but did not succeed. They had also cut out a seat belt because it was so bloody they couldn't clean it.

Bearden, 21, and William David Brown Jr., 20, were later arrested and indicted for the killing. A witness brought in by authorities at the time told police that Brown had killed Skipper because he was gay.

Brown is to be tried at a later date on charges of first-degree murder and robbery.

Skipper's parents, Lynn and Pat Mulder, and brother Damien, have become active since his death in pushing for hate crimes legislation. In November 2007, the Mulders created a PSA for Equality Florida. They also submitted a question during the YouTube presidential debates.

Watch as the verdict is read, AFTER THE JUMP...

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. thank god! finally some justice.

    Posted by: will | Feb 27, 2009 2:40:59 PM

  2. Burn baby, burn.

    Posted by: CJ | Feb 27, 2009 2:43:46 PM

  3. I'll wait to see what his sentencing is before I'm confident that justice has been served.

    Posted by: Wes | Feb 27, 2009 2:47:17 PM

  4. This verdict makes no logical LEGAL sense. By failing to convict on the underlying Robbery charge, the predicate for FELONY MURDER, how this jury can vote to convict for 2nd deg Murder is beyond reason. Further, due to the underlying charge of Robbery being a predicate for a charge of FELONY MURDER, there needn't have been any lessers uncluded in the Murder indictment. By convicting on Theft of a Motor Vehicle, there should have been a NOT GUILTY verdict on the 1st DEG or FELONY MURDER charge. There should have been no option for lesser included offenses on the top charge. Hopefully the Appeals Court will reverse the 2nd Deg Murder charge and direct the court to re-try this case on that basis, and other appealable issues.
    The jury felt sympathy for the Defendant and spared his life, when they should have applied the law to the evidence. This is an illogical and erroneous decision on their part.

    Posted by: Mac Ambo | Feb 27, 2009 3:12:33 PM

  5. bye bye spic

    Posted by: gesus | Feb 27, 2009 3:15:10 PM

  6. I'm with Wes.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 27, 2009 3:18:26 PM

  7. Gesus, really? Frequently towleroad has posted white men and teenager who have killed or attacked gay men and women and I rarely see people like yourself call them racial epithets. Is it b/c there are fewer slurs for white people? Because they're less effective as insults? What does being Latino have to do with it anyway?

    Gesus, you're an idiot!

    Posted by: mikey d | Feb 27, 2009 3:23:26 PM

  8. Wow. What a tragedy for everyone involved.

    (MacAmbo: Is there such thing as MISDEMEANOR MURDER... ?)

    Posted by: The Milkman | Feb 27, 2009 4:03:39 PM

  9. Thanks Mikey D. Totally didn't get that. I mean, I could think of a few...

    Dude is just scum.

    Posted by: kev | Feb 27, 2009 4:42:20 PM

  10. This comment board has gone downhill by the story. I have become use to seeing racially biased and white supremacist comments in the recent months, but "Gesus'" totally unnecessary racial slur makes all of us look bad. I also happen to be Latino and don't see him as any better than those people who hate me for being gay.

    Posted by: Tony in West Hollywood | Feb 27, 2009 4:42:41 PM

  11. The murderer, I mean. Too bad this is only second degree murder.

    Posted by: kev | Feb 27, 2009 4:43:35 PM

  12. EXECUTE with extreme prejudice. Lethal injection... Unfortuntely, they won't happen, and justice will fail to be served yet again.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 27, 2009 4:56:26 PM

  13. that, rather.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 27, 2009 4:59:32 PM

  14. Ryan was my friend and these pricks deserve to die! life in prison just isnt good enough.

    Posted by: Vanessa | Mar 1, 2009 11:05:56 AM

  15. Joseph is not hispanic first of all. It is so tragic that young man's life was cut short - I do think however that life in prison would be a more difficult sentence than the death penalty for anyone - My prayers to the family of Ryan Skipper.

    Posted by: BETTY | Mar 7, 2009 11:10:40 AM

Post a comment


« «James Dobson Resigns Chairmanship of 'Focus on the Family'« «