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The Star, No. 10, March 23, 1984
File 007
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The Star, No. 10, March 23, 1984 - File 007. 1984-03-23. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. March 31, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/1737/show/1730.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1984-03-23). The Star, No. 10, March 23, 1984 - File 007. Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/1737/show/1730

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

The Star, No. 10, March 23, 1984 - File 007, 1984-03-23, Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive, University of Houston Libraries, accessed March 31, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/1737/show/1730.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title The Star, No. 10, March 23, 1984
Contributor
  • Hyde, Robert
Date March 23, 1984
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
Place
  • Austin, Texas
  • San Antonio, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 783846406
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive
Rights No Copyright - United States
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 007
Transcript 6 The Star / March 23,1984 Marine Gets Four Years for Mutilating Gay Man By S. Christopher Hagin VISTA, CALIF.-A 20-year-old Georgia Marine was sentenced to just four years in prison for voluntary manslaughter on February 10 in the bludgeoning death of a local gay construction executive, in what the prosecutor called "one ofthe bloodiest, most gruesome murders ever in San Diego County." On April 3. 1983, Cpl. Dennis Craig Edenfield went to an Oceanside motel with David G. Smith, 55, subsequent to their meeting in a tavern frequented by Camp Pendleton Marines. After twice leaving and returning to the room, the Marine—in a fury—battered Smith to death with a table. San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Susan Biery claimed the brown- haired Georgian committed the slaying after engaging in "a consensual homosexual act" with his victim; however, Edenfield has given several accounts for his action. At his trial, he claimed being frightened into self-protection when he awoke from a drunken stupor to find Smith naked and straddling his shirtless body. After Oceanside police traced Edenfield to being in the room, the Marine baker asked homicide detectives, "Is this in regards to that faggot? Because if it is, I can save you a lot of time because I did it." The Marine corporal admitted, "I hit him. I hit him hard. I hit him with my hands. I hit him with my elbows. I hit him with the table. I hit him good." Biery alleges the Jesup, Ga., native knew his victim was gay before they went to the Mira Mar Motel. Edenfield claims Smith "promised" women would be in the room. After recurrently bashing Smith with the table, Edenfield washed the bludgeoned man's blood from his hands and slender torso and left the gore-drenched 7 told him that in the State of California, they're pretty strict on beating up queers. room, believing his prey still alive; however, he did not seek medical treatment for the gay man after delivering him a Marine-trained beating. It is doubtful Smith was alive. Police photographs depict the personnel manager's head to be almost unrecognizable as that of a human being. Edenfield's death weapon caved-in the middle-aged gay man's skull and pulverized his nose. His face was twisted off center and disfigured. His eyes exploded. Blood covered three walls, the ceiling, bedding and carpet. Detective Richard Trotter testified he had never seen a body that badly beaten. Edenfield returned to Camp Pendleton where he told his mess hall supervisor Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Fredrickson "he was going to get in trouble for beating up a queer." Frederickson said, "I told him that in the State of California, they're pretty strict on beating up queers." Edenfield told his boss he went to the motel room because Smith was drunk and he "was afraid he (Smith) might get hurt." The handsome corporal admitted assaulting the gay executive after returning from the bathroom to find the balding homosexual standing naked near a bed, said Fredrickson. In defending Edenfield, his two attorneys claimed "self-defense" and "justifiable and excusable homicide." Their claims partly succeeded with the jury. Originally, jurors found the defendant guilty of second degree murder, but their foreman, a retired Marine major, emerged to tell Superior Court Judge Donald Martinson they had reached a verdict, but one or two of the jurors wanted to change their finding. Martinson said a verdict was not final until read in court. The voluntary manslaughter conviction came out ofthe second balloting of jurors. Biery has said their verdict would not have been changed if the victim was heterosexual. Edenfield has never expressed regret or sorrow for the murder. Before jury deliberations began, Biery said, "You are not here to take a vote on how many of you like Marines and how many like homosexuals. If you tell this man it was okay to kill Dave Smith because Dave Smith was a homosexual, you might as well sign a death warrant for all other minorities." William Dougherty, Edenfield's Orange County attorney, told the jury, "We know what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. That wasn't pretty either." The lawyer further claimed Edenfield had the right to defend himself from "an attempt to commit a forcible and atrocious crime. The table was the only weapon to keep this man off of him.'' Martinson disagreed in passing sentence. The judge said the murder was "a very brutal and senseless killing" which indicated "a high degree of cruelty and viciousness." He further found, "This matter could have ended easily by simply having the defendant withdraw." Martinson could have sentenced Edenfield to six years in prison. Martinson received a letter from the sheriff in Edenfield's hometown. Sheriff Jim Poindexter wrote, "If there is any way possible, I would like to help this young man... If by any chance that it could be worked out, and he (Edenfield) is sentenced to serve jail time, I would take the responsibility of keeping him in my jail to serve his time... We have facilities that I'm right proud of for a small town." The judge received the backwoods sheriffs request. He also rejected probation for the convicted manslayer which was requested by his San Diego attorney Dan Mogin. Mogin claimed if released on probation, his client could seek treatment for alcoholism, a bleeding ulcer and suicidal tendencies which developed after the murder. Martinson received 56 letters from friends and family of Edenfield in Georgia. The Atlanta Gay Task Force (AGTF) also sent a letter asking for the maximum sentence, and San Diego gay organizations were present in court. Citizens of Jesup rallied to the defense of their hometown high school baseball hero. A car was raffled to pay legal fees and bail. Jesup churches passed the offering plate for the young Marine and his family. "Blatant homophobic hatred ran rampant in Jesup for over a year. If an open gay man would have gone to that town, he would have been clubbed to death," said a gay former resident now living in Atlanta. Freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Lindsay Thomas wrote Martinson, "Dennis' hometown is Jesup, a small south Georgia community, rural and stable in its population and one in which there is no known homosexuality which is considered abhorrent and offensive... "The entire community has felt a shockwave of anger and concern over the legal troubles of Dennis... There is a sense of disappointment at the verdict in this case," said Thomas. Thomas, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, wrote a constituent, "I have been working with the Marines to see that Dennis and his family are receiving any support that the Marines can offer." It has been charged by a person close to the case that Thomas has "leaned on Marine officials" to assure Edenfield "of preferential treatment." It is "extremely rare" for the Marine Corps to become involved in a civil criminal case, said the prosecutor's office, but they helped seek bail reduction for the indicted recruit. Biery sad after the Marine was released on bail, he was arrested for shoplifting from a PX, drunk driving and assaulting a superior officer at Camp Pendleton, but the Marine Corps has not brought charges against him. A spokesperson for Marine Commandant P.X. Kelley would not discuss or comment on the case. Edenfield's future with the Corps is unknown. U.S. Reps. Sala Burton (D-Ga.), Gerry Studds (D-Mass.) and several other congresspersons are investigating the possibility Edenfield received special treatment and to encourage the Marine Corps to courtmartial the convicted gay murderer for violations of military justice after release from state prison. AGTF wrote Martinson, "Edenfield was raised in Jesup. Ga., a town known for its homophobic and bigoted attitudes. The residents there provided the funds for Edenfield's defense, not because of his standing in the community, but, according to a deputy sheriff, to tell 'them California fruits it's okay to kill them damn queers.' The people of Jesup might consider it alright to kill gay people, but that is perverted justice. Do not let San Diego County's justice become morally polluted like red-neck Jesup's. Racism, bigotry and homophobia is bred into Jesup children. A majority of Georgians condemn the act of Dennis Edenfield." AGTF wrote, "Some persons are raised to believe 'fag-bashing' is permitted. It simply is not, and as a judge you must deliver that message. We have the right to expect our violators to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law." The Atlanta group encourages people to write the Commanding General, Camp Pendleton, Ca., 92055, to insist the gay slayer be prosecuted on violations of military justice after being released from state prison and/or give him a dishonorable discharge. Get Texas' 3 Great Gay Newspapers- Home Delivered Texas now has three great, local gay community newspapers from MVP (Montrose Voice Publishing). And we offer special combination subscription prices. Get one, two or all three- home delivered, anywhere in the country. Montrose Voice Houston—published weekly Dallas Gay News Also serving Ft. Worth and Oklahoma—published weekly Austin/San Antonio Star published every other week Each of the three newspapers has exclusive local and national articles and features. Plus all three subscribe to virtually every gay news service and syndicated writer, including the Gay Press Association Wire Service, Stonewall Features, and a dozen independent writers who relate gay life to everything from business to movies to politics to sex. Yes, send □ Montrose Voice □ Dallas Gay News □ Austin/San Antonio Star for D 6 months □ 1 year. RATES: Montrose Voice OR Dallas Gay News—$29 for 6 months or $49 for 1 year. Montrose Voice AND Dallas Gay News—$44 for 6 months or $74 for 1 year. Austin/San Antonio Star—$16 for 6 months or $29 for 1 year. The Star with either the Voice or Dallas Gay News—$37 for 6 months or $64 for 1 year ALL THREE NEWSPAPERS—$52 for 6 months or $89 for 1 year. Name . Enclosed is D Check □ Money Order (Make payable to Montrose Voice Publishing), or charge to my □ Visa □ MasterCard D Community Credit Card (If charge, give credit card expiration date and number Montrose Voice and Dallas Gay News are published every Friday. The Star is published every other Friday. Subscriptions will usually arrive in your mailbox on Saturdays in Texas or Mondays elsewhere.
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