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Gay Indiana Professor Don Belton Stabbed to Death in Own Home


Gay Indiana University professor and author Don Belton (left) was stabbed to death in his home by Michael Griffin, a decorated Marine who claims Belton sexually assaulted and raped him in front of his girlfriend while they were intoxicated. Belton was reportedly stabbed by Griffin two days later when the Marine went to confront the professor. Police are searching for the girlfriend, who apparently left town.

Belton is the author of Almost Midnight, a novel, and the anthology Speak My Name.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

Michael J. Griffin, 25, of Bloomington told police he visited Don Belton on Sunday to confront the 53-year-old assistant professor of English over two alleged assaults, the probable cause affidavit said. An argument and scuffle ensued. Griffin told police he stabbed Belton with a 10-inch military style knife after Belton failed to "show or express any type of feeling that what had taken place was a mistake," the affidavit said.

Griffin was being held without bond Tuesday in the Monroe County Jail on a charge of murder. An initial court hearing was set for Wednesday.

A friend who came to Belton's home in Bloomington on Monday found his body in the kitchen, authorities said. Police who were called to the scene found both doors unlocked and no signs of forced entry. Nothing was missing, said police Lt. David Drake. Drake said Belton was stabbed "at least five or six" times in the back and several times in the front of the torso.

The affidavit said police found Belton's journal, which contained an entry saying that he was "very happy" that someone named Michael had entered his life. Police later received a call from Griffin's girlfriend saying she thought her boyfriend might be involved in the slaying.

Officers who searched Griffin's home Monday night found the knife believed to have been used in the killing, Drake said. The affidavit said Griffin had bought the knife before serving as a Marine in Iraq.

Watch FOX 59's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. It had to have been rape. There is no way a hot, young guy like that is gonna go for an old troll like him. I get it all the time at clubs and gay events.

    Posted by: Adam | Dec 30, 2009 1:32:18 PM

  2. I am disturbed to see some of these comments saying he deserved to die. Killing another person is never right. All of the facts are not in. We sometimes react without complete knowledge of the facts. It seems strange that a marine could not stop this professor from rapeing? There again the facts need to come out.

    Posted by: Tom Nunnery | Dec 30, 2009 1:32:59 PM

  3. @ DR: I'm a bit puzzled by your post. First, I'm not sure where this "tolerating" the race card business comes in. I don't think it's playing the race card to ask whether the response would have been different had the victim not been black. And given that I don't KNOW what race you are and I assume you don't KNOW what race I am, I'm not sure how you can, effectively, accuse me of playing the race card. If you're uncomfortable with talking about race, that's really on you, but you need to own that and not project whatever discomfort you may have about race on others.

    Second, I have to wonder if you really red my post versus going on autopilot. I clearly said that I have no idea what happened. I don't remember telling people that they had to either get on or off of a soapbox. And, I certainly didn't tell you that, so I'm not sure why you took my post so personally unless a part of it rang true for you in some sense. Had I said, "we all should be more outraged" I could understand part of your response. I am not outraged per se because I have no clue what happened. That doesn't mean that I cannot notice how the collective responses are of a different tenor than other incidents.

    Third, I find your "logic" about why this case is different very curious. So, it's ok to get "indignant" about cases where an assailant doesn't know the victim but not ok to get indignant where an assailant does? From where does that come? Generally wouldn't one presume that there is a higher duty to people that one knows than to random people? As for me, I'm pretty indignant when it comes to things like domestic violence where the perpetrator knows the victim.

    Posted by: BMF | Dec 30, 2009 1:39:27 PM

  4. NO ONE IS SAYING HE DESERVED TO DIE. Jesus. And this is NOT about rape.

    There were some mitigating factors, however, in the murder, including, without limitation, sexual assault.

    The fact the professor is black and the perp is white has no bearing on my comment that no one has clean hands in this case IF the professor is found to have assaulted the killer.

    Posted by: fred | Dec 30, 2009 1:40:50 PM

  5. "rape" in the first sentence = race

    this might have everything to do with rape, not race.


    Posted by: fred | Dec 30, 2009 1:41:31 PM

  6. WELL- we will all find out eventually - Hopefully - what really happened...but, that young guy "looks gay" - sounds like a GUILTY concience.

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Dec 30, 2009 1:44:39 PM

  7. @ WES: Legally, if one is under the influence, one can't give consent. As long as both parties are still okay with what went down, this is not a problem. But alcohol alters perceptions and reduces inhibitions. People do things that they would not do otherwise. So when some guy (usually) plies some girl (usually) with lots of alcohol and she doesn't (or can't) fight back (or even seems, through his altered perception, to be enjoying the act), he sets himself up for a mess of trouble should she wake up the next day and call the police. Neither party, if you think about it, ought to be held completely responsible for bad judgment. But the one acting as the instigator/aggressor/perpetrator is the one who is going to be in hot water. Again, it makes the actions understandable, but not excusable.

    Posted by: TJ | Dec 30, 2009 1:50:05 PM

  8. "...IF the professor is found to have assaulted the killer."

    And how the eff can this determination be made conclusively when the accused rapist is riddled with stab wounds and is conveniently buried six feet under?

    The allegedly murder gets to say we was drunk, drugged, raped. And the only person who can defend himself from that accusation is not here.

    Knowing the system of criminal justice, and given the knee-jerk reaction to the optics of this situation, I predict the marine walks scot free.

    Posted by: Jane Roe | Dec 30, 2009 1:51:13 PM

  9. When I heard about this last night, I didn't for one SECOND think that the Marine was acting on the level.

    Then I check comments here and see comment after comment about how the dead English Professor was the perp.

    What is the difference in this story than any of the others where a gay man is killed by another man after supposed sexual advances??

    No rape or sexual assault has been proved or reported - just accused. A murder has been committed. The girlfriend of the accused is reported to have tipped the cops off. The accused murderer had the weapon in his possession, is half the age of the victim and is a soldier.

    Innocent until proven guilty is how we roll - and that covers the accusations levied against a man brutally stabbed multiple times who cannot defend himself against the rumors that WAY too often are levied against gay men by men that are sexually conflicted. The murderer is as innocent as the professor is at this point.

    And as far as I'm concerned - the Marine has much more explaining to do than the English Professor.

    WTF?? Why is it easier for so many of you to accept this murder victim as a rapist than any other of the similar gay defense stories of the past few years??

    Is your racist training showing in this case?

    Posted by: patrick | Dec 30, 2009 1:52:58 PM

  10. Well..for one , I do think that there are a few trolls on this posts...

    But two, I also do sense that white guys are defending a white murderer of a black gay man because the white guy fulfills their fantasies.

    And of course, NO black guy could be gay or could be so smart as to be a damned college professor or a real contributor to our community.

    Yep, the racial aspect of this is uncomfortable, y'all, but it needs to be talked about, nevertheless...

    Oh, and you white people really need to do something with the horrific and virulent homophobia in the white community. (and I hope you realize that that's snark)

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Dec 30, 2009 1:53:39 PM

  11. Forgive me, but what situations can people think of where a Gay black 53 year old English professor shares a drunken night with a white 20 something marine, that dont involve some sort of implied future consensual cock play? Especially given the journal entry..

    Posted by: Rovex | Dec 30, 2009 2:11:11 PM

  12. I knew Don, and he was not a sexual predator. Period. Secondly, where the hell does it say that the Marine was drunk? Thirdly, I have heard dozens of stories about sexually confused ex-marines going nuts and killing gay men, very few about a gay man getting a Marine drunk and then sexually assaulting him. Fourthly, as a rape survivor, I understand the knee jerk reaction but folks here saying dude got what he deserved are fucked up beyond belief. Not even the Marine has claimed rape, he has claimed sexual assault, which are different. AND, the penalty for touching someone inappropriately should NOT be the death penalty. And, btw, going to someone's house, days later, with a bowie knife and then killing a person that does not give what you think is a proper apology is what I would call PREMEDITATED MURDER. Michael had already decided that if Don did not give him what he wanted, Don was going to be killed. That "human" may claim gay panic, but this was murder in cold blood. Period.

    Here is my take on it:

    I am willing to be wrong, but right now something doesn't add up, the journal, the knife, the strapping young man that is fully capable of defending himself against a 53 year old man. An ex-Marine with hypermasculinity issues that were BEATEN into him in the Corps...yeah me thinks that the evidence, little as it is right now, points to a young guy that got his rocks off, enjoyed it, and then regretted it and instead of dealing with his shit, murdered in cold blood an innocent man that was an asset to our community.

    Posted by: Brandon | Dec 30, 2009 2:20:43 PM

  13. And further for you out there that are lambasting this dead man and pronouncing him guilty, making heinous statements, remember that there are people that knew him, valued him, loved him, and we read these things too. Have some self respect or at least respect for someone that is dead.

    Posted by: Brandon | Dec 30, 2009 2:21:35 PM

  14. I also think it is funny that the source of the "rape" allegations come from a "source" instead of from the police affidavit.

    Posted by: Brandon | Dec 30, 2009 2:24:20 PM

  15. Thank you for your insight, Brandon.

    You would think that from the responses here, Michael Griffin is the credit, asset and hero to the gay community and Prof. Belton is the villain.

    Posted by: Jane Roe | Dec 30, 2009 2:25:15 PM

  16. Oh lord. AND the girlfriend has skipped town? Come on people...address your internalized homophobia.

    Posted by: Brandon | Dec 30, 2009 2:25:21 PM

  17. @ Brandon First line of piece: Gay Indiana University professor and author Don Belton (left) was stabbed to death in his home by Michael Griffin, a decorated Marine who claims Belton sexually assaulted and raped him in front of his girlfriend while they were intoxicated.

    Posted by: TJ | Dec 30, 2009 2:27:03 PM

  18. fred | Dec 30, 2009 1:41:31 PM

    you are making NO sense, all the other cases where the killer has accused the dead of rape, i did NOT see people jumping onto the killer's defense, so why is this case so different?

    Posted by: johnosahon | Dec 30, 2009 2:27:24 PM

  19. Seems to me that all the evidence that we know of, points to premeditated murder.....just because the Marine couldn't handle the sex part of the relationship is in no way exculpatory......the diary entry indicates the Prof was happy to have a new guy in his life....hardly an indication of violence....and who goes back (a third time) for an apology with a deadly weapon ? A dangerous Marine without the education or skills to handle emotional conflict....and too eager to resort to violence to resolve differences.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Dec 30, 2009 2:31:13 PM

  20. BMF, I'm willing to admit that perhaps I engaged in a bit of a pre-emptive rant, but sadly it appears it at least part of my rant was right. Some of these comments are are absolutely ugly.

    Posted by: DR | Dec 30, 2009 2:37:54 PM

  21. @Brandon

    Thank you.

    Although...while I agree with you to an extent that internalized homophobia is a factor here, I think that a lot of it is also not-so internalized racism.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Dec 30, 2009 2:46:42 PM

  22. "Do you really think that Belton would write the was glad Michael "came into his life" about a rape victim?"

    Yes. Belton did what he wanted to do, he wasn't the one allegedly raped. Unfortunately for him, Michael didn't had the reaction he was hoping for. Since when is it okay to rape anyone? if these allegations prove true, then my sympathy is with Michael, and I believe the jury and judge would sympathize with Michael too.

    Posted by: Gast | Dec 30, 2009 2:58:47 PM

  23. So, let me see if I have this right?

    In spite of the age difference (which would speak a little to physical consition) and the fact that Griffin was a trained Marine...some of you still believe that Griffin was raped...

    So the myth of the black rapist is alive and well in the gay community.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Dec 30, 2009 3:05:46 PM

  24. Take away age, race, background and all other information, there is one single fact that makes this whole thing lean towards guilt of the marine:

    The marine had sex with the prof TWICE?

    That's two separate occasions? If he really didn't like what was going on the first time seems like he'd not have gone back for seconds, especially in front of his girlfriend.

    And how big is the prof vs. the size of the marine? I'd like to know, he may not have been able to even defend himself. I doubt that a prof/writer has the hand-to-hand combat skills of a "decorated" marine.

    Posted by: johnny | Dec 30, 2009 3:07:58 PM

  25. Sounds like the same old America to me.

    A black homophobe attacks a white man and it is a bloody outrage.

    A white homophobe outright kills a black man and he is innocent because, you know, blacks are rapists.

    Same old, same old.

    Posted by: John | Dec 30, 2009 3:11:23 PM

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