Crime | Florida | News | Ryan Keith Skipper

Killer of Gay Man in Florida Receives Life Sentence, Apologizes


Joseph Bearden, who was convicted earlier today by a jury for second-degree murder in the March 2007 death of Ryan Keith Skipper, a gay Florida man, made remarks at his sentencing, apologizing for the murder and telling the courtroom that he did not witness the murder and if he had seen what had taken place he would have tried to stop it.

Brown Said Bearden: "I just thought it was a simple robbery. I didn't even think that dude was going to get hurt. I didn't want no part of that. I said I didn't want no part of it and they still involved me. They still involved me in it. I didn't do it. And the man that did it is walking the street. And he testified. That's all that I know."

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, then 21, and William David Brown Jr., then 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.

Bearden's co-defendant, William Brown, is to be tried at a later date on charges of first-degree murder and robbery.

Bearden was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 25 years.

Watch Bearden speak to the judge and the courtroom, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. " I said I didn't want no part of it and they still involved me."

    Here's a simply remedy to that, WALK AWAY.

    Enjoy rotting in prison.

    Posted by: RP | Feb 27, 2009 5:32:45 PM

  2. I, I, mention of the victim and an apology to the family only because he was prompted to do so by his lawyer. The only remorse in his statement was that he was found guilty of murder.

    Posted by: Mark in NYC | Feb 27, 2009 5:38:41 PM

  3. Amen, RP. Now if Brown gets the death penalty, justice just might be served, even if the deterrent is wasted upon the ignorant.

    Posted by: Eric | Feb 27, 2009 5:38:54 PM

  4. "I thought it was going to be a simple robbery."

    Oh, WELL then... THAT makes a difference, doesn't it?

    What a waste of flesh.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Feb 27, 2009 5:51:37 PM

  5. Without remotely suggesting that this kid should not spend his life in prison, just looking at his picture, even without knowing that he was involved, however directly or indirectly, in the slaughter of another kid simply because he was gay, is heartbreaking......for he is a poster boy for the pathology of pseudo "masculinity" in our culture.

    The dagger tattoo across his eye, the predatory insect [?] tattooed on his have we let such subcultures fester into the 21st century dominated by the need to prove one's masculinity, read heterosexuality, through symbols of pain and violence and destruction?

    Or the 14-yr. old in California who felt the need to blast the brains out of a 15-yr. old just because he told him he loved him....Yes, I am one of those who thinks he must be tried as an adult, but such mutilations of one's own body, such butchering of others, are depressing and chilling symptoms of the cancer of sexism behind misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia.

    Weep for them all....

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Feb 27, 2009 5:54:15 PM

  6. It's gonna take a long time to get rid of this kind of scum. He should be hung.

    Posted by: philbert | Feb 27, 2009 6:12:08 PM

  7. How sad that he had to be prompted by his attorney to say "I'm sorry,"

    And to all the potential criminals out there, there's no such thing as 'simple robbery.' The Felony Murder rule means that if someone dies during the commission of a felony - everyone involved is charged with murder too.

    Posted by: Frank | Feb 27, 2009 6:17:44 PM

  8. full video of sentencing:

    Posted by: Mac Ambo | Feb 27, 2009 6:29:01 PM

  9. Enjoy being a prisonbitch!

    Posted by: Marc | Feb 27, 2009 6:58:45 PM

  10. Echoing a previous comment his excuse is that he only went along with it because he "thought it was a simple robbery" as if that is somehow redeeming and the thought of hurting him in the process didn't even cross his mind? What, he thought the idea of a simple robbery was politely asking him for his stuff and walking away if he refused?

    I watched someone die in his wife's arms because he refused to give up the $20 he just took out of an ATM and a cheap gold chain. That memory of her holding his lifeless body screaming in tears "Oh my God he's dead!" will forever be etched into my mind.

    I don't care if every part of you thought that you wouldn't have to resort to the violence that you threaten to rob a person, the very fact that you did it in the first place removes all excuses and you are completely accountable for the persons death. He is a sick, disgusting and fundamentally broken example of our species and it's sickening that he even has the possibility to walk amongst us again.

    Posted by: John M | Feb 27, 2009 7:15:31 PM

  11. I really wish I could have sympathy for this guy... buttah cain't.

    Posted by: Marc | Feb 27, 2009 7:34:29 PM

  12. The even sadder fact is that he will most likely brag and be congratulated for his crimes.

    Posted by: CJ | Feb 27, 2009 7:52:27 PM

  13. If I were the judge I'd shoot him myself right there in the courtroom.

    Posted by: Attmay | Feb 27, 2009 9:34:13 PM

  14. Anyone with prominent tattoos on their neck and face has few options in life other than getting by on robberies. Moron.

    Posted by: Paul R | Feb 27, 2009 10:56:56 PM

  15. The grinning human scum at the end of the video tells you all you need to know. All the alligator tears and hollow apologies before sentencing were just bullshit. Can we bring back stoning?

    Posted by: Jason | Feb 27, 2009 11:26:32 PM

  16. When the judge asked him if he had anything he wanted to say and he replied, "What can I say? You're going to do what you have to do," well, I think he thought he meant say to the judge. I don't think he thought the judge meant to say to the family at that time. I don't know either side, but you have to remember, he just got sentenced to life for something I believe he KNEW of but didn't commit murder in any way and knows a free man did. I would have an attitude too! But as far as the comments and having been forced to say sorry, I think he thought the judge was asking if he had anything to say with the judge.
    I don't care what you say or how you feel or what you THINK happened... the law is that you have to go solely on the evidence and only convict if you feel it proves without a doubt pretty much that he killed this man, which I don't believe the STATE could prove, which is why they dissected his statement in closings cuz they knew they had nothing else against him!! I just feel he should have been acquited on the murder charges but sentenced to 15 years on the other charges, which I agree with of the lesser crimes... although the verdict contradicts itself on the counts. I just think he would have been killed by the Browns if he went to the police and told what happened and then would have been known as a snitch on the street, which will have you constantly beat up... if that's what they are basing it on, that he knew, well, so did every single one of those witnesses up there, especially Kirchoff and the Browns who saw blood all over Bill Bill. Why aren't they being charged for accessory after the fact? That's worse than what Bearden did!!!!! I just think it was a very unfair trial.

    Posted by: Gina | Feb 28, 2009 12:06:33 AM

  17. No. I don't know where you got your law degree, but here in America, you don't have to pull the trigger to get convicted of murder. These kinds of "accomplice" murder convictions are typical throughout the United States.

    The State of Florida only has to prove proximate cause for second degree murder. Were it not for the robbery, Mr. Skipper would be alive. It is that simple.

    Whether the defendant actually participated in the stabbing that killed the victim is immaterial. The violent nature of armed robberies are such that the defendant - unless he were clinically insane or suffered from mental illness- could have reasonably forseen that his criminal behavior could've led to the victim's death. The fact that he says didn't "intend" for it to go that far does not matter one bit. That's what they all say when they get caught.

    The engaging in felonious acts of violence, against an unarmed target and completely unprovoked, serves as more than sufficient "intent" of malice and a willful disregard for human life.

    Posted by: John in CA | Feb 28, 2009 3:51:56 AM

  18. CJ, he won't be able to brag, what with all of the cocks being stuffed in his mouth--he'll never get a word in edgewise!

    Those tatts are scary--I have a tatt, but not one that defiles my face and neck, and anyone who saw him with the ones he has should have seen this coming with the brights on!

    BTW--what's the difference between a "simple" robbery and a complicated one? It's still robbery, you douche, and throw in a "simple" murder, and you're hosed. What a waste of human flesh.

    Posted by: troschne | Feb 28, 2009 7:31:31 AM

  19. At least he'll make someone a very lovely prison bitch in the near future. Expect to see him walking VERY bowlegged at his appeal.


    Posted by: Hdtex | Feb 28, 2009 7:40:55 AM

  20. WOW..... that evil bastard grinning from ear to ear while being fingerprinted at the end truly turned my stomach.

    Posted by: Troy | Feb 28, 2009 7:49:53 AM

  21. You want to marry him, don't you now "Gina."

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Feb 28, 2009 8:39:43 AM

  22. He's only sorry he got caught.
    Now he gets to pick up the soap in the prison's showers... for life.

    Posted by: Emmanuel | Feb 28, 2009 11:17:15 AM

  23. I'm all for this guy going to jail for the rest of his life. Hell, I'd even be okay with the death penalty!

    But guys, can we knock off the prison rape shit? Do you even think about what you are implying or are you just stupider than the defendant cause it is not something that puts gay people in a really good light to associate the idea with us. Regardless of your motive or argument.

    Posted by: Marc | Feb 28, 2009 11:46:48 AM

  24. Evil fucker. He's not sorry. The fact that he had to be told by his lawyer to say "I'm sorry" goes to show his lack of conscience. He feels bad for being caught. The nerve of him to even be smiling at the end of the clip. I'm glad for the sentencing, but am certainly not opposed to the death penalty in such cases. Yes, I do feel some pity for such a damaged life of glorified violence, but justice must always be strong and clear.

    Posted by: nikko | Feb 28, 2009 1:49:53 PM

  25. The really scary and truly sad thing about all this is that people like Bearden are allowed to procreate---no questions asked.

    Posted by: mike | Feb 28, 2009 2:01:40 PM

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