Teen Killings Tied To Sexual Orientation

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A few weeks after the death of Lawrence King, daytime talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres opened her show with a message about King. "When the message out there is so horrible that to be gay you can get killed for it, we need to change the message," she said.

King's death is just one of the most recent instances in which teenagers were allegedly killed because of, in part, their sexual orientation. Other incidents in recent years include:

¿ Simmie Williams Jr., 17, was shot and killed on Feb. 22 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Police said Williams was dressed as a woman at the time of the shooting, and they are investigating his killing as a possible hate crime.

¿ Last fall, three people pleaded guilty to charges related to the July 2004 murder of 18-year-old Scotty Joe Weaver, who was gay. Prosecutors said it was clear that Weaver's sexual orientation played a part in the grisly murder in Bay Minette, Ala.

¿ Eddie Araujo, 17, was killed in October 2002 at a party in Newark, Calif., where he arrived dressed as a woman.

-- Staff research

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