August Provost | Crime | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | News | San Diego

Suspect in Murder of Gay Sailor August Provost Kills Himself

Jonathan Campos, a 32-year-old sailor from Lancaster, California who faced 16 charges, including arson, unlawful entry, theft of military property, wrongful possession of a firearm, and the murder of fellow seaman August Provost, took his life while in custody:

Provost "Campos...apparently died of self-inflicted asphyxiation, said Brian O'Rourke, a spokesman for Navy Region Southwest. Brig staff members had checked on Campos about 11:45 a.m. and found him in 'satisfactory condition,' O'Rourke said. At 12:21 p.m., however, he was found 'unresponsive on his cot.' The staff administered CPR and took Campos to a hospital, but he was pronounced dead about an hour later. Both Campos and Provost, who was gay, were assigned to Assault Craft Unit 5. Gay-rights leaders and some of Provost's friends and relatives have expressed concern that Provost might have been killed because of his sexual orientation. The Navy has said there was no evidence of a hate crime."

The L.A. Times adds, "Campos...had apparently asphyxiated himself with toilet paper, officials said. He had been on suicide watch in the brig..."

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  1. Some bloggerati are having the proverbial field day with this latest twist...but rationality should give us pause.

    It's true that, of all the branches, the Navy, whose discharges of gays in some years has been twice that of all the other services combined, has a particularly long, documented history of mistreatment and deceit in relation to gays [e.g., the infamous USS Iowa explosion]. And stupidity—they once demanded gays being investigated tell them who "Dorothy" was, as in "friend of Dorothy."

    BUT in relation to the death of August Provost, in FACT, we only know that:

    1. Provost was gay or bisexual.

    2. There are CLAIMS that he complained to others, possibly including superiors, that he was being harassed on base for being G/B.

    3. There are CLAIMS that he was murdered simply because he was G/B.

    4. There are other CLAIMS that he was murdered by someone who feared that Provost would reveal the murderer's own homosexuality. [There was a also rumor that gay sailor Allen Schindler's 1992 murderer was gay. ABC News hack Esleazibeth Vargas tried to prove Matthew Shepard's principle murderer was G/B.]

    5. There are other CLAIMS that Provost was killed simply because, in his assignment in the guard house at the entrance to the base, he stood in the way of the real intent of the man who shot him, Gas Turbine System Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class (SW) Jonathan Campos who "set fire to an air-cushioned landing craft . . . he was found carrying gasoline, a lighter and a firearm. ... Regional officials were mum on just what might have driven Campos to the base that night [but] Campos was facing possible administrative or punitive action for an alleged driving-under-the-influence charge from a June 20 incident in nearby Imperial Beach." - "Navy Times"

    "...Navy officials yesterday said it was part of a crime spree not related to the victim's sexual orientation. ... Campos faces 16 charges, including murder, arson, unlawful entry, theft of military property and wrongful possession of a firearm. He's also charged with soliciting a civilian in San Diego to kill another sailor the day after Provost's slaying. ... Navy officials also accuse Campos of using hallucinogenic mushrooms several times between May 1 and June 2. Officials said that on June 13, Campos allegedly broke into the off-base home of a fellow service member in San Diego and stole an Xbox computer-game system, jewelry and a .45-caliber Kimber pistol, adding the same pistol was used to kill Provost." - "San Diego Union-Tribune"

    It is POSSIBLE that any combination of 2, 3, and 4 are true. BUT LGBTs are killed in any number of circumstances totally unrelated to our orientation, just as we die of many more causes than AIDS.

    In the absence of credible EVIDENCE, it makes no more sense to say that Campos shot Provost because he was gay than to say that Campos' theft of an Xbox was gay-related.

    Until there IS reasonable EVIDENCE, can we please leave it at the possibility that there was a gay connection to the crime and not present speculation as truth simply because it's more entertaining and/or serves some people's needs to see homophobic victimology under every bed?

    When we do that, we damage our credibility about everything else, including indisputable hate crimes generally, and the documented injustice and harm to servicemembers and the nation by DADT and rampant military homophobia that exists independent of it.

    Posted by: Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | Aug 1, 2009 3:29:46 PM


  2. Well, I guess when somebody kills themself in a situation like this, one can rest assured that just has likely been served (innocent people don't try to choke themselves on toilet paper!)

    Posted by: Drew | Aug 1, 2009 3:38:41 PM


  3. Provost's family and his FB page both said he identified as bisexual. I'm not sure whether he identified as gay, there's no indication either way.

    (Of course, whether it's a hate crime depends on what the killer thought, and what his intentions were. I wonder if we'll ever know.)

    Posted by: Mary | Aug 1, 2009 3:49:22 PM


  4. Having the accused kill himself is not justice. It offers an end to this saga, but not justice. It stops the investigation, and removes the possibility of further information becoming available through a trial.

    Posted by: Dean | Aug 1, 2009 4:03:25 PM


  5. Dean,

    Which is, of course, exactly what the Navy wants. Contrary to popular belief, the Navy is certainly not the least homophobic of the armed services. In many ways, it is actually worse than, say, the army. Many sailors feel the need to be "extra" homophobic because of the Navy's reputation as a non-fighting force (i.e. transport service for ground troops).

    Posted by: John | Aug 1, 2009 4:21:24 PM


  6. Though bear in mind, John, that numerous surveys have shown the Navy has the highest percentage of gay members (or, at the very least, the highest number who admit to having had sex with other members of the same sex). As a result it receives a lot of teasing from members of other services.

    Posted by: Paul R | Aug 1, 2009 5:46:20 PM


  7. A Suicide.

    Well, well, well. Isn't that convenient?

    End of speculation. End of Investigation.

    Lets hypothesize for a second, shall we? A Gay man is incinerated in a shack by a man who then tries to solicit another to commit a second murder.

    His first victim is Gay. There will be an investigation to determine if being Gay had anything to do with the murder. If it turns out there WAS an Anti-gay motive, Congress and the President will face an angry LGBT Community demanding answers. The Military hates that.

    Since Provost lived his life relatively free of Military Harrassment, and had obeyed all the rules of DADTDPDH, the military could not spin his death as 'Gay-Panic' for their own homophobic benefit.

    Now, without investigating we are told that is wasn't a hate crime. How are they are so sure of it?

    Here's the truth. Provost was murdered for being gay, by a sociopath. Campos was murdered by the military to quash any investigation that could force DADT back into the public arena and a possible repeal.

    You want to know how sure I am about this?

    1) Campos stuffed Kleenex in his mouth to suffocate to death. Who held his nostrils shut?

    2) I am as sure of Campos's murder by the Military as the Military is that it WASN'T a hate crime.

    No investigation necessary, Right? That's the Military's Proof.

    "Truth? You want the Truth? You can't HANDLE the Truth"

    Posted by: Roger Ramjet | Aug 1, 2009 6:09:23 PM


  8. look, campos was non compos mentis. (yeah, i couldn't resist). still, the latino was a crazy-assed bitch. the black guy was simply a victim. someone tell me where i'm wrong on this.

    Posted by: nic | Aug 1, 2009 6:42:22 PM


  9. The Navy is covering something up! I do not believe any of this - I believe it was a "hate crime". The last thing they need with DADT is a bad motion - THEY ARE LYING!

    Posted by: GRivera | Aug 2, 2009 10:44:31 AM


  10. LIES! LIES! LIES!

    Posted by: GRivera | Aug 2, 2009 10:45:22 AM


  11. Silly Queers!!!!
    A HATE CRIME was such a silly concept! No one kills a gay soldier! How could anyone believe such a ridiculous story! How gullible the gays are....

    Now please accept without question that a man killed himself with toilet paper.

    Posted by: OttoErotica | Aug 2, 2009 1:05:04 PM


  12. Ya, something doesn't add up here. I'm usually not a conspiracy theorist, but this ain't right somehow. This isn't over, even if it's 20 years before it starts up again.

    Posted by: clint | Aug 2, 2009 6:49:21 PM


  13. Poor OttoErotica!

    Caught between Iraq and a Hard One.

    Hate crimes occur world wide, daily especially against the LGBTQI community.

    Maybe you should take a look at Tel Aviv's news channel today.

    And While you're pouring out your jug of Koolaid, we'll welcome you to the real world which strives for justice.

    Posted by: Roger Ramjet | Aug 2, 2009 7:03:54 PM


  14. I used to think the normal think ... you die you go to heaven or hell.

    But I truly believe HELL is here right now and many people are pre-practicing their HELL. and the people who have reserved their seats are the Navy people who killed the killer of Provost. EVERY Navy person involved with the cover-up (and yes I believe that now) are guilty of more crimes than Campos. They will live a living hell before they get to that hot place.

    Freaking unbelievable , but maybe not, that the Navy would do this.

    Provost is definitely in a better place considering the FREAKS around him who coverered up his killer because they knew it would expose HOMOPHOBIA and hatred in the Navy.

    Bastards!

    Posted by: FunMe | Aug 3, 2009 3:38:23 AM


  15. @Clint,

    I try my best to keep my head out of the conspiracy clouds, but of all the suspected killers out there, why is it that this one just so happens to have offed himself?

    And what constitutes "suicide watch?" I mean, does leaving an inmate alone for 45 minutes count as keeping a close eye on him?

    I'm unhappy that this man wasn't forced to put his word on record. That his attorneys didn't get to hear his side of the story. That the public doesn't get to look at hours of testimony and sift out any hidden grains of truth.

    The public skepticism over the cause of this murder has no more traction. There is no more meat to be pulled from that bone of contention. And that's unfortunate.

    And I bet the Navy couldn't be happier.

    Posted by: Tommy | Aug 3, 2009 2:18:22 PM


  16. This is a sad story and the world as we know it is over. I dont see what the problem is here. You mean to tell me that because of this man's sexual preference, he cant defend his country and make money like everyone else out here just trying to make it? I dont believe in the whole Dont Ask Dont Tell policy. And I am nowhere near gay or bisexual. Next thing you know, people gonna be killing each other because they only date ugly men/women. I feel that no matter your sexual prefrence, you should be allowed to work and make money just like the next person. If you cant deal with it then this aint the place for you. this is life..grow up and move on. The only ones with a problem is the ones that have to question their own sexuality...Food for thought.

    Posted by: Jada | Aug 3, 2009 9:00:06 PM


  17. And for the record, the navy is going to find a way to cover this up like they do everything else. Two sailors dead, questions from higher authority, lets make up a cover story ASAP. Wish things were different but they are not.

    Posted by: Jada | Aug 3, 2009 9:02:43 PM


  18. You guys are funny

    The navy/military tries to cover up bad publicity and potential liability. IT ISN'T UNIQUE. It is a huge organization with a huge bureaucracy.

    Most things some people are convinced involve evil conspiracies, especially when involving large organizations, bureaucracies, is really just these organizations trying to cover up incompetence, negligence, and limit their liability.

    DREW:

    Innocent people don't commit suicide? They certainly do, especially if they see no hope on the horizon. I'M NOT SAYING THIS GUY WHO KILLED HIMSELF WAS INNOCENT.

    Nobody, aside from the participants and perhaps prosecutors and defense lawyers, knows what occurred. Every crime or assault involving gays isn't a hate crime. Gays are victims of regular non-hate crimes and are involved in nefarious activity themselves.

    Posted by: John in Boston | Nov 17, 2009 10:42:01 PM


  19. BTW:

    The military brass and bureaucracy, contrary to what many on this board think, is politically correct. They will and would happily prosecute someone with a hate crime and sell them down the river, even if it wasn't. They would do it if:

    It got them good publicity (for prosecuting hate crimes)

    If pressured politically to emphasize and prosecute as a hate crime

    If it makes prosecution easier.

    Posted by: John in Boston | Nov 17, 2009 10:49:00 PM


  20. REST IN PEACE!

    Posted by: Akalia Provost | Dec 1, 2014 3:13:51 AM


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