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...


Feed This post's comment feed


  1. This is unbelievably sad, as is any murder. Hate crimes hit me especially hard, because they could easily be avoided. With the proper education and upbringing, this dirtbag could have actually been a contributing member of society.. its a damn shame that Skipper was killed just for being who he is.

    I don't believe in the death penalty, no matter how pathetic the fuckwad is. Though the fact that he can appeal after 25 years and possibly get out is sick. Is that all a life is worth? 25 years in prison? Let the fucker rot in jail.. he deserves nothing less.

    Posted by: Jared | Feb 28, 2009 2:43:48 PM

  2. I want to second what Marc said about prison rape "humor." If anal sex is always joked about as an appropriate punishment for criminals, how are we ever going to convince ourselves--never mind others--that same sex sex is an inherently positive act?

    Posted by: Warden | Mar 1, 2009 12:46:22 AM

  3. Thanks Andy, for sharing this story with the world. My parter and I and my brother and his partner met Ryan's Mom and Step-father at an Equality benefit in Tampa. Their strength to travel around the country and tell Ryan's story is nothing short of amazing. We all welled-up with tears listening Ryan's story. A movie documentary has been made about the story and information can be found here:
    Thanks again, Andy for running the story.

    Posted by: Scott Kjeer | Mar 1, 2009 10:23:56 PM

  4. This kid is the result of the hate dished out by the Republican Party.

    This kid is the legacy of Anita Bryant.

    This kid is the legacy of Pat Robertson.

    This kid is the legacy of James Dobson.

    This kid is the result of America's unwillingness to wake the fuck up.

    Posted by: endgame | Mar 2, 2009 12:24:32 AM

  5. He's probably going to be treated like a hero in jail. I hope he truly repents and finds god.

    Posted by: Mike | Mar 2, 2009 10:07:40 AM

  6. I predict that smug little smile won't last long where this asshole's going. What a pathetic, brainless, white-trash kid. The kind of person that reminds you that humans really are just animals when you get down to it. I forget that sometimes. Just sad.

    Posted by: Tom | Mar 3, 2009 1:59:10 AM

  7. i knew this guy. we hadn't seen each other in years tho. he did this in 07 i hadn't seen him since 2000. but we knew each other since daycare. i got no pity or sympathy for him or the other guy.

    Posted by: austin | Oct 24, 2011 1:55:05 PM

  8. « 1 2

Post a comment


« «News: Tom Brady, Gay Bashings, Obama Threat, Providence, XBox« «