Crime | News | Puerto Rico

Gay Puerto Rican Teen Decapitated, Dismembered, and Burned


Over the weekend the brutalized body of gay teen George Steven Lopez Mercado was found by the side of a road in Puerto Rico. The police investigator suggested that he deserved what he got because of the "type of lifestyle" he was leading.

Mercado According to an iReport by Chrisopher Pagan: "On November 14 the body of a gay 19 year old was found a few miles away from the town in which he was residing in called Caguas. He was a very well known person in the gay community of Puerto Rico, and very loved. He was found on the site of an isolated road in the city of Cayey, he was partially burned, decapitated, and dismembered, both arms, both legs, and the torso. This has caused a huge reaction from the gay community here, but its a difficult situation. Never in the history of Puerto Rico has a murder been classified as a hate crime. Even though we have to follow federal mandates and laws, many of the laws in which are passed in the USA such as Obama’s new bill, do not always directly get practiced in Puerto Rico. The police agent that is handling this case said on a public televised statement that 'people who lead this type of lifestyle need to be aware that this will happen'. As If the boy murdered Jorge Steven Lopez was asking to get killed..."

Jorge Here's a report on the murder (in Spanish) from Said activist Pedro Julio Serrano: "It is inconceivable that the investigating officer suggests that the victim deserved his fate, like a woman deserves rape for wearing a short skirt. We demand condemnation of this investigator and demand that Superintendente Figueroa Sancha replace him with someone capable of investigating this case without prejudice." (my translation, please suggest a better one if you can).

UPDATE 1: Suspect arrested.

UPDATE 2: Suspect claims self defense, "gay panic".

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  1. "The crime is horrible, the cop is a cruel bigot, and Puerto Rican society is NOT to blame for the act of a violent sadist."

    Well said, Derrick. And I couldn't agree more. We all know that homophobic attacks (which this likely is in light of its sheer brutality), have absolutely NOTHING to do with the cultural messages that underpin homophobia. They aren't symptoms of a sick society. That's just crazy talk. Instead, they're just the individual choices of certain people (a whole lot of them) acting alone who are responding to nothing but their own beliefs and prejudices generated in a vacuum. Just like sexism and racism aren't at all symptoms of harmful broad cultural beliefs (memes, if you will...) that are expressed by domestic violence and racist hiring practices. No...they're just individuals (lots of them!) who choose to do this because they made it up on their own, and didn't learn it from anyone or anything. Of course, their behavior can't be extrapolated to assess the magnitude of virulence of oppressive (e.g., homophobia, sexism, racism) beliefs in a given group. Not all men beat their wives, so clearly it's [not] MEN'S VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN. Not all white people were in the klan, so clearly RACISM IS[n't] A WHITE PROBLEM in the u.s. Not all heterosexuals are homophobic...

    Racism and homophobia don't precipitate hate crimes at all. Just like sexism doesn't cause domestic violence. These are just isolated incidents that couldn't be predicted, carried out by crazy people...and should not be understood in a societal context that can be useful in isolating the perpetrators of these offenses and oppressions to adequately characterize the problem; specifically, in the widely held beliefs that certain humans aren't "people".


    Posted by: TANK | Nov 17, 2009 1:16:38 AM

  2. And we all know that toxic religious hate speech doesn't foment antigay attitudes and lead to antigay violence, and antigay oppression like voting away rights. C' could it possibly do that? Beliefs cause behavior? Pshaw...isanity. Religion couldn't do any of that...those are just crazy people, completely unaffected by their environments...

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 17, 2009 1:22:24 AM

  3. Juana Maria's translation is correct. The other translation was not translated accurately. Look closely before you leap.

    Posted by: Mercutio | Nov 17, 2009 1:42:47 AM

  4. I have to say that I am very concerned with some of the comments on here, which have turned this discussion about a horrible crime against a member of the LGBT community into a condemnation of the Puerto Rican society at large. Such comments are biased and discriminatory. I guess some members of the LGBT community have more in common with right-wing bigots than they would like to admit. Okay, on with the important stuff:

    1. The police has identified a 28 yr old suspect in the case.

    2. Please join the following Facebook group (which already has about 2,600 members):

    3. Support the following petition to Atty. General Holder requesting that the FBI assert jurisdiction in the case:

    4. I haven't lived in Puerto Rico in seven years, but rest assured: my brothers and sisters of the Puerto Rican LGBT community WILL NOT REST until ALL aspects of this case (cop's statement included) are addressed and properly taken care of.

    Posted by: casiano19 | Nov 17, 2009 1:49:12 AM

  5. This is a typical Islamic punishment for gays and others they consider undesirable. There is a blog that displays these disgusting actions (warning graphic pictures)

    I am a subscriber to the above blog, not an admin. I just feel it needs to be shown and said.

    Posted by: David Starr | Nov 17, 2009 4:07:10 AM

  6. I suggest we contact as many media outlets in the western world as possible, lets get the general heterosexual population talking.

    Posted by: Jason | Nov 17, 2009 4:26:22 AM

  7. holy shit, decapitated and limbs dismembered? what the fuck is wrong with people? So what if he is gay, he's still a living being. Would you decapitate and partially burn a kitten because it lived a different lifestyle than you?

    Posted by: Vin | Nov 17, 2009 5:26:23 AM

  8. I read the investigator's comment as saying we need to be careful because we're in a world where this DOES happen. I don't see it as him saying the kid deserved it, but I could be wrong...

    Posted by: shawn | Nov 17, 2009 10:03:55 AM

  9. just because the victim happened to be gay, does not mean it was a hate crime, you never know what kind of people he was assiciated with or what business he had on the street. not trying to justify, just looking at it from all angles

    Posted by: Robert | Nov 17, 2009 12:33:58 PM

  10. I have a home on Vieques Island (a territory off the coast of Puerto Rico). Vieques is the new Provincetown for the Caribbean and has many many gay people who are homeowners, taxpayers, etc. and have businesses there.

    Come to Vieques Island, its beautiful and safe. As for San Juan, it is crime ridden and I wouldn't bother anyways, its a dump by the beach and homophobic and disgusting.

    Posted by: brian | Nov 17, 2009 12:47:42 PM

  11. I bet the FBI takes over the case.
    This is outrageous.

    Posted by: Janey | Nov 17, 2009 1:07:29 PM

  12. Jersey Girl, there is no God you simpleton. Get your head out of your ass.

    Posted by: Jim | Nov 17, 2009 2:30:43 PM

  13. One of the most saddest thing I have read on facebook. Sitting hear crying. And I ask myself what is that going to do? Nothing! I cant belive the police can say such a thing like this. It makes me weep to think that such a young man will never get to live the life if so should have had. My heart and all my love goes out to all his family and friends. Xx

    Posted by: Jonathan Frohawk. | Nov 17, 2009 3:28:52 PM

  14. One of the most saddest thing I have read on facebook. Sitting hear crying. And I ask myself what is that going to do? Nothing! I cant belive the police can say such a thing like this. It makes me weep to think that such a young man will never get to live the life if so should have had. My heart and all my love goes out to all his family and friends. Xx

    Posted by: Jonathan Frohawk. | Nov 17, 2009 3:28:58 PM

  15. One of the most saddest thing I have read on facebook. Sitting hear crying. And I ask myself what is that going to do? Nothing! I cant belive the police can say such a thing like this. It makes me weep to think that such a young man will never get to live the life if so should have had. My heart and all my love goes out to all his family and friends. Xx

    Posted by: Jonathan Frohawk. | Nov 17, 2009 3:28:59 PM

  16. Okay, the suspect HAS BEEN CAUGHT and DID CONFESS:

    As for the speculation regarding the case being a hate crime: it is. And now the following battle begins... the killer is getting ready to assert the "gay panic" defense, which has been successful in some cases, the latest I can remember was a horrible assault case near the establishment formerly known as "Be Bar" in Washington, DC. As part of the defense, the guy essentially argues that he didn't know "she" was a "he" and that it "freaked him out" and felt threatened somehow and killed the kid. A whole lot of bullsh*t, if you ask me. I say, prosecute it as a hate crime and go for the maximum sentence!

    Posted by: casiano19 | Nov 17, 2009 7:15:57 PM

  17. As a gay puertorican now living in FL, I am shocked and horrified about this incident. PR never been too open about gays but the time I lived there I never seen this kind of news. I am sure there will be an investigation because this is not right and a message needs to be sent to all those haters and the people who justify them. Hopefully the PR gay community can unite and openly protest about this crime

    Posted by: Rafael | Nov 17, 2009 8:23:09 PM

  18. Well Puerto Rican's are a savage and violent people. If they want change, they will make it...until then, let them run their country the way they see fit.

    Posted by: Keisha Kornbread | Nov 17, 2009 8:26:08 PM

  19. Well, "Keisha Kornbread," with that kind of name, I can only imagine what kind of education and upbringing you had...

    Posted by: casiano19 | Nov 17, 2009 9:40:28 PM

  20. That iz aweful how cud u do sumpn like that t0 sum0ne n b able t0 live ur normal life wat if that wuz ur friend or brother or sum0ne close n that police agent from wat wuz said he duznt have a heart either hes against gays or mayb hes a crooked agent im a bi sexual n i thnk tht gay love iz the best kind of love the ppl that did this to that poor proud to b gay boy nd to b tortured the same way n i hope they get it t00

    Posted by: Kimberly elliott | Nov 17, 2009 10:21:38 PM

  21. My condolences to his family and friends. :( it saddens me that such ignorance still prevails.

    Posted by: Lupe | Nov 18, 2009 1:44:03 AM

  22. This brakes my heart!!!! I hope justice is served in George's sake! People are so ignorant it hurts! It almost makes me afraid! Especially in the environment I work in!!! I live in AZ btw! Everywhere it seems, this type of hate exists!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by: Jakey | Nov 18, 2009 5:50:15 AM

  23. This is a tragedy but I'm not sure that this was a "hate crime." I think it's more then a Hate Crime! Take a look at my break down of the evidence:

    Posted by: Psych Syke | Nov 18, 2009 11:50:37 AM

  24. The FBI has jurisdiction in PR, because PR is a territory of the US (although, we're actually called an Associated Free State of the US). Anyways, what the police detective said was "this type of people," not "people who lead this type of lifestyle." That, to me, makes it worse. That investigator needs to be disciplined. I am Puerto Rican, and I am not gay, but I have family who is and I love them very much. I feel for the family of this young man. He is now resting in peace, but his family and friends are suffering horribly over this tragedy. My prayers to all (and I'm also Catholic) to heal and forgive.

    Posted by: Mel C | Nov 18, 2009 3:45:07 PM

  25. This is sick.
    To murder someone so brutally for being himself.
    Kinda makes you wish it was 50 years on already and everyone just accepted it and gotten over it.

    Posted by: gresa | Nov 18, 2009 11:11:44 PM

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