HOUSTON VOICE » DECEMBER 17, 1999
Around the Nation
Ark. judge permits death penalty against gay men in boy's murder
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP)—A judge said Dec. 10 that prosecutors may seek the death
penalty against two men charged with raping and killing a 13-year-old boy. Davis
Carpenter, 38, and Joshua Brown, 22, are charged with capital murder and six counts of rape
in the death of Jesse Dirkhising, who was found near death in the men's home at Rogers,
Ark. in September. The pair is being held without bond in the Benton County jail pending
their April 10 trial. At the time of Brown's arrest, he told police he had sex with the boy.
Police say they were called to the men's home Sept. 26 and found Jesse nude and unconscious on the floor. According to court records, Brown said he and Carpenter had tied
Dirkhising's hands behind his back, placed a pair of underwear in his mouth and secured
it with duct tape. Brown then repeatedly raped the boy while Carpenter watched, police
said. An autopsy indicated Dirkhising died of positional asphyxia, the inability to breathe
while in restrictive positions. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Jan. 13.
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■Army investigator recommends discharge for gay -Ariz, legislator
PHOENIX (AP)—A military investigator is recommending the Army discharge a gay reserve lieutenant despite the
fact that he discussed being gay in his role as an Arizona
state legislator and during a time when he was not on
active duty. The Army began investigating Lt, Steve May,
28, after he discussed his homosexuality while addressing a
legislative committee in his role as a state representative. "It
appears the immediate commander has not an option but
to recommend initiation of a separation action to higher
headquarters," Maj. Eileen Norton wrote in her final report.
If a separation hearing board votes to discharge May, the
decision would have to be approved by the Secretary of the
Army, a process that could take several months. If May is
kicked out of the army, he intends to challenge his discharge in court, arguing the Army cannot limit his free
speedi rights as a civilian or interfere with his ability to represent his constituents as a state legislator. May is also being
considered for promotion to the rank of captain.
Lt. Steve May plans to sue if
he's removed from the military for publicly acknowledging his homosexuality during
a legislative debate.
Wells Fargo Bank charged with anti-gay discrimination
I AS VEGAS—A gay man and his straight business partner sued their former employer,
Wells Fargo Bank, alleging they were forced to resign after the bank discriminated against
them because of the gay man's sexual orientation, the Las Vegas Sun reported Dec. 10. In a
federal lawsuit, Geoffery A. Vanderpal and Michael Gordon accused Ralph Pierro, their former supervisor and regional sales manager of Wells Fargo Securities, of defamation, and of
allegedly sabotaging their training and employment opportunities. The two men were
hired in February as securities sales representatives and left on June 10. The lawsuit charges
that Pierro violated employment policies on sexual harassment when he allegedly referred
to gays as "queers" and made derogatory remarks concerning gay sex acts.
County negligent but small judgment in Brandon Teena's death
FALLS CITY, Neb.—A judge has awarded the mother of Brandon Teena a $17,360
judgment against the county for failing to arrest the two men who would later kill
Teena, who lived as a man, the Omaha World-] lerald reported Dec. 8. Attorney Herbert
Friedman said that the small award trivialized Teena's death. "We're disappointed and
will probably file an appeal regarding damages, but we're glad he found that the county was negligent," said Friedman. District Court Judge Orville Coady's found that the
two men, John Lotter and Marvin "Tom" Nissen, bore 85 percent of the responsibility
for the murder, Teena one percent, and the remaining 14 percent belonged to the county. Fourteen percent of the $200,000 the judge awarded JoAnn Brandon, plus funeral
expenses, equalled $17,360. Teena was one of three people murdered New Year's Eve
1993 in a Humboldt, Neb. farmhouse by Lotter and Nissen, who had raped Teena a
week earlier, enraged that Teena was dating local girls. The story has become the subject of two films, including the acclaimed "Boys Don't Cry."
FDA tries to halt sale of alternative remedies for AIDS and cancer
WASHINGTON (AP)—The government asked a federal judge on Dec. 9 to stop sales
of three alternative remedies that claim lo treat cancer and AIDS. The products include
MGN-3, a rice-bran extract claimed to treat both cancer and AIDS; Benefin, a form of
shark cartilage; and SkinAnswer, a skin cream that claims to treat skin cancer. All three
products are from New [ersey-base-d Lane Labs-USA, which now faces a permanent
injunction sought by the FDA. "People should not be misled into thinking bogus remedies are going to be effective," said Dr. Janet Woodcock, the FDA's drug chief.
—From staff and wire reports
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