DECEMBER 3, 1999 • HOUSTON VOICE
Police turn to gay community to solve brutal New Orleans slaying
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deepened as they partially opened the front
door and found Sexton's body on the other
side—in a pool of blood.
"David was right up against the door,"
.Loria said. "It was pretty bad for us ... but I
can't imagine what it was like for David. He
must have put up quite a struggle."
Police and Orleans Parish Coroner Dr.
Frank Minyard said that Sexton, an internationally renowned researcher in early childhood intervention and special education, had
been viciously stabbed at least 16 times.
Following an autopsy, Minyard said
Sexton suffered long, deep gashes to his arms,
suggesting that he attempted to fend off his
attacker. He was also stabbed twice in the
heart, had several other chest and back
wounds, and two wounds in the back of his
head, authorities said.
In an attempt to allay the fears of neighbors
in Sexton's quiet Bayou St. John neighborhood,
Minyard told reporters that he was killed "by
someone who knew Sexton and who he let in
his house [or] possibly returned with to his
home. This was not a random murder."
Signs of a struggle extended from Sexton's
bedroom to the front door, police said.
Minyard said that based on the condition of
Sexton's nude body, the three days of newspapers on his dixirstep, and reports from
friends—Loria and Scott, who were among
the last to see him alive—that Sexton died in
the early morning hours of Nov. 20.
Det. Tim Allen of the New Orleans Police
Department said that Sexton's wallet and
house keys were stolen, but that nothing else
appeared to be missing, nor were their signs
of forced entry.
He declined to say whether the murder
weapon, believed to be a kitchen knife, was
found. He also wouldn't confirm the presence of bloodied footprints on the porch or
the discovery of fingerprints and a blood type
other than Sexton's.
"This investigation is in progress and I
don't want to jeopardize the case by discussing what we may or may not have as evidence," Allen said.
Police ask for help,
say attacker was hurt
Allen said that the police investigation has
hit a dead-end and police need the help of the
gay community to solve Sexton's murder.
"It looks like David did know the perpetrator, based on what we found at the house,"
Allen said. "For how long, we don't know. He
may have met him that night or longer
before. We just don't know."
Allen said that police went to several gay
bars that Sexton's friends said the professor
occasionally frequented, including the
Phoenix and the Friendly Bar in Faubourg
Marigny. Visits to those and other Marigny
and French Quarter bars fumed up nothing,
"We haven't found anyone at any [gay] bars
who recognized David and remember seeing
him early that morning," the detective said.
But the perpetrator may be more easily
identified than police initially thought, Allen
"We think he may have been injured in the
course of the struggle," .Allen said. "I can't say
how, but if anyone, anyone, remembers seeing someone last week with cuts and scratches on his arms, hands, neck, or to his head, or
saw fresh bandages, they should call us.
"If someone seems to have just dropped out
of sight, gone underground, or is acting
unusual, people should call us. Or if they
remember seeing someone [that Saturday
morning] with bloodied clothes, or if they've
noticed blood in someone's car, they should
Sexton fondly remembered
Loria said that he, Scott and Sexton
enjoyed a Friday evening out that began with
dinner, included a play, and ended with jovial
conversation at the Friendly Bar, a small
neighborhood establishment in the Marigny.
"We were there about two hours and never
noticed anyone strange," Loria said. "And
David had only four drinks the entire night,
so I know he wasn't impaired in any way."
He said Sexton dropped them each off at
their homes about 1 a.m. on Nov. 20, "but he
didn't say anything about going anywhere
else. I assumed he was going home."
.\lthough they often exercised together at a
gym on Saturday mornings, "David told me he
had a grant or something like that to work on
that Saturday morning, so I didn't call him."
Loria said his friend, whom he had known
for more than a decade, "must have really struggled" for his life. "David was tall—6 feet 3 inch
es—and although he was thin, he was really
strong and in great shape for a 51-year-old man.
He must have fought whoever killed him."
Loria said that Sexton was not known to
cruise bars, and instead frequented smaller
establishments outside the busy French Quarter.
"He wasn't the type to just pick someone
up, not at all," Loria .said. "David was quite a
talker, and very friendly, and would check
someone out first."
Loria said he first met Sexton and his partner, Jerry Robinson, about a decade ago.
Sexton and Robinson were together for more
than 20 years. Robinson died two years ago
from lung cancer, he said.
In .September, Loria and Sexton traveled to
Greece for 12 days "and we had an absolutely wonderful time. In fact, we had such a
good time we were already planning to go
again next September."
Struggling to find the words to describe his
friend and Sexton's impact on people, Loria
said: "Half of the professional people I know
owe their work to David. He encouraged people to do more, even me; I have a master's [in
social work] anu i ie badgered me to get something published, just one paper, until I did it.
Sexton, who earned his doctorate from
the University of Tennessee, was a
researcher and professor in the School of
Allied Health Professions at LSU Health
Sexton was nationally recognized as an
expert in early childhood development and
was president of the Council for Exceptional
Children's Division of Early Childhood.
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