Homosexuality Related Cases

19 Cases

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AL - Escambia - Dewayne Cunningham 1995

AZ - Pima - David Wayne Grannis 1989

CA - Los Angeles - Patricia Wright 1981

FL - Brevard - William Dillon 1981

FL - Santa Rosa - Lance Fierke 2001

FL - Palm Beach - Paul William Scott 1978

IL - Cook - Kenneth Hansen 1955

IL - St. Clair - Rodney Woidtke 1989

KS - Shawnee - Joe Jones 1985

MA - Berkshire - Bernard Baran A1984

PA - Bucks - Frank Chester 1987

PA - Delaware - Rickie Jackson 1997

PA - Philadelphia - William S. Green C1947

TX - Ector - James Harry Reyos 1982

TX - Harris - Calvin Burdine 1983

WI - Dane - Penny Brummer 1994

Australia (SA) - David Szach 1979


Allegedly Related (Links)

FL - Orange -Tommy Zeigler 1975

TX - Smith - Kerry Max Cook 1977




Date of Alleged Crime


Escambia County, AL Dewayne Cunningham Aug 20, 1995 (Flomaton)
Dewayne Scott Cunningham was convicted of rape after the victim identified him while he was handcuffed in the back of a police car.  Such a “show-up” identification is considered less reliable than lineup or photo lineup identifications.  The victim gave a written statement that her assailant as “not tall,” only a couple of inches taller than her own 5'4" frame.  Cunningham is 6' tall.  The victim also estimated his age at between 30 and 40 years old; Cunningham was 26 at the time.  There is also a question of motive.  The victim was female, but Cunningham is an apparent homosexual.  He worked as a male prostitute and reports that he has a “husband” in prison.  Alabama does not allow for post-conviction DNA tests of crime evidence, and as of 2006, Cunningham has filed a federal lawsuit in Mobile to gain access to the evidence for such tests.  (Press-Register)  [3/07]


Pima County, AZ David Wayne Grannis Aug 24, 1989

David Wayne Grannis was sentenced to death for murder of Richard Sutcliffe.  While hitchhiking, Grannis and a co-defendant, Daniel Ethan Webster, were given a ride by Sutcliffe.  Sutcliffe offered the men a place to stay.  At trial the state argued that Grannis and Webster killed Sutcliffe while robbing him and burglarizing his home.  Grannis testified that Sutcliffe sexually propositioned him and became aggressive with him.  Grannis ran out of the house and did not know that Sutcliffe was dead until he was arrested.  Grannis believed his screams must have awakened Webster, who killed Sutcliffe after he left.  A female friend of Webster testified that she overheard Webster bragging to her cousin about committing a murder.

During trial, the prosecution introduced photos depicting homosexual activity that were found in Grannis's room at the time of his arrest.  The Arizona Supreme Court overturned Grannis's conviction in 1995.  It ruled that the photos were “marginally relevant” and that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting them.  The Court stated that the probative value of the photos was substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice.  At retrial in 1996, the charges against Grannis were dismissed because of insufficient evidence.  (DPIC)  [10/07]


Los Angeles County, CA Patricia Wright Sept 19, 1981

Patricia Gordy Wright was convicted in 1999 of the 1981 murder of her ex-husband, Willie Jerome Scott. Jerome was found stabbed to death in his motor home while it was parked in a bad area in downtown Los Angeles. Jerome's homosexual lifestyle led to the dissolution of the couple's marriage. It also led him to some unsavory partners and placed him in some dangerous situations. No physical or forensic evidence connects Wright to the crime.

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Brevard County, FL William Dillon Aug 17, 1981

William Dillon was convicted of the murder of James Dvorak.  Dvorak was found murdered at Canova Beach.  He had been beaten to death and left in a wooded area, an apparent homosexual meeting place near the beach.  A motorist, John Parker, had picked up a hitchhiker near the scene of the crime and drove him to a tavern three miles away.  Along the way, Parker stopped his truck and performed oral sex on the hitchhiker.  After dropping off the hitchhiker, Parker found that his passenger had left behind a bloody yellow T-shirt which he disposed of in a trash can near a grocery store.  After he saw a news story about the murder, he called police, and police recovered the T-shirt.

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Santa Rosa County, FL Lance Fierke June 25, 2001
Lance Fierke's cellmate at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution had raped him and had threatened to rape him again.  Fierke reported the incident and when he refused to go back to his cell for more, Officer Dean beat him.  (Report)  [9/05]


Palm Beach County, FL Paul William Scott Dec 6, 1978 (Boca Raton)

Paul William Scott was sentenced to death for the murder of James Alessi, a Boca Raton florist.  Scott had accompanied a friend, Rick Kondian, to Alessi's home where they smoked some pot.  Unknown to the two, Alessi had laced it with PCP, a dangerous hallucinogen.  Scott laid down in another room.  Meanwhile, Alessi, a 6'2" homosexual, tried to force himself sexually on Kondian.  Kondian screamed for Scott's help, and with his aid managed to subdue Alessi.  Scott then left.  Kondian left, but returned three and a half-hours later to rob Alessi, and killed him with a champagne bottle during the robbery.

Kondian cut his hand badly with the cork wire from the bottle, and while he afterwards threw the bottle in the woods, a circle of blood from the bottle was left at the murder scene.  At Scott's trial, the prosecution withheld this blood evidence.  Two witnesses to the murder have also come forward to exonerate Scott.  A book was written about the case entitled A Circle of Blood by Bob Pauley.  (FYI) (AngelFire) (Scott v. Dugger) (JD03) [10/08]


Cook County, IL Kenneth Hansen Oct 17, 1955

Kenneth Hansen was charged in 1994 with the famous unsolved murders of three 11 to 13 year old boys that occurred in 1955.  The victims were John and Tony Schuessler and their friend Robert Peterson.  They had traveled downtown to attend a matinee at a Loop theater and were found dead two days later in Robinson's Woods, outside of Chicago.

Hansen was on his honeymoon in Texas at the time of the murders, but he found his 40-year-old alibi impossible to confirm.  Four witnesses claimed he confessed to them separately and alone in 1955, 1964, 1968, and 1976.  There was no other evidence.  Three witnesses were paid informants.  Hansen was convicted and sentenced to 200 to 300 years of imprisonment.

After the trial, the fourth witness admitted his testimony was fabricated.  None of the witnesses mentioned the confessions to anyone before 1993.  In addition, after the trial, a woman came forward and claimed her dead husband, Silas Jayne, confessed to her to performing the murders in 1956.  She left her husband the next day.  Other witnesses and some physical evidence corroborated her story.  Despite there being no evidence that the boys were molested, the trial judge allowed evidence of Hansen's homosexuality and deviate lifestyle to be presented.  The 2002 retrial with new evidence and the widow witness also resulted in conviction.  Hansen died in prison in 2007.  (TruthInJustice)


St. Clair County, IL Rodney Woidtke June 19, 1988 (Belleville)
Rodney Woidtke was convicted of the rape and murder of Audrey Cardenas.  He suffered from mental illness and confessed to crime in part because he did not want police or anyone else to think he might be homosexual.  Woidtke was acquitted at a 2001 retrial.  The victim's mother, Billie Fowler, suspected from the start that the confession was false.  She said the retrial “had nothing to do with finding out the truth, finding out what happened to my daughter,” but rather was “all about making sure that they convinced the public that they didn't make a mistake.  But, guess what?  They did make a mistake—and they got caught.”  (CWC) (JD12)  [1/06]


Shawnee County, KS Joe Jones Aug 24, 1985 (Topeka)
Joe C. Jones was convicted of rape.  The victim identified another man as her rapist when presented with a photo array but identified Jones in person.  Jones and the victim were of different races and were at the same nightclub on the night of the attack.  The prosecution presented a pair of jeans found at Jones's house that were similar to those worn by the rapist.  An employee of a store testified that Jones was in the store at the time of the attack, and was wearing different clothing than the rapist allegedly wore.  Jones was barred from using his sexual orientation as a defense.  DNA tests exonerated Jones in 1992.  (IP) (DNA)  [10/05]


Berkshire County, MA Bernard Baran Arrested 1984
Bernard Baran, a gay 19-year-old, was an aide at Pittsfield's Early Childhood Development Center and was caught in the wave of false abuse allegations that swept the nation in the early 1980s.  In 2006 his conviction was overturned and charges against him were dropped in 2009.  (www.freebaran.org) (JD08)  [3/05]


Bucks County, PA Frank Chester Dec 14, 1987 (Tullytown)

Frank Chester was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Anthony Milano.  Chester, 19, and a friend, Rick Laird were at a Tullytown bar where they met Milano.  Laird, Chester, and Milano then left the bar.  While on the way to a friend's house, Laird, drunk and strung out on drugs, lost his temper when Milano wanted to go home.  In a fit of rage, Laird dragged Milano to a nearby wooded area off of Rt. 13 and knifed him in the throat.  Milano was soon dead.  Chester says he saw the murder as it was happening and ran through the woods to a friend's house, shaken by what he witnessed.

After the murder, Chester cooperated with the police.  He produced the clothes he was wearing at the time (which had not one drop of Milano's blood on them), and gave the police the names of all his friends and the patrons in the bar.  He even submitted to a lie detector test, which he passed with flying colors.  Laird had a previous arrest history for violent behavior.

Milano was a gay man who was learning to accept his identity.  When the DA learned this fact, he used Milano's homosexuality as the cause of his death.  Laird and Chester were depicted as hate mongers.  The press picked up on the DA's depiction and joined in portraying the two as evil gay bashers.  The fact that Milano just happened to be gay did not enter the picture.  Both Laird and Chester landed on death row.  Laird has exonerated Chester from any responsibility for the murder.  (Source)  [2/07]


Delaware County, PA Rickie Jackson Sept 1997 (Upper Darby)

Richard C. Jackson was convicted of the murder of 38-year-old Alvin Davis, his friend and former gay lover.  Jackson was a hairdresser who resided in West Philadelphia.  Davis was stabbed to death and his body was found nine days later in his second floor apartment at 422 Long Lane in Upper Darby.

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Philadelphia County, PA William S. Green Nov 4, 1946

William S. Green was convicted of murdering a night watchman named Blount.  Blount had found that a rear door to the Standard Theater at 1126 South Street had been forced open.  He entered the theater and apprehended an intruder.  He then took the intruder to a police call box.  When Blount turned to make a call, the intruder snatched his gun and fatally shot him.  The watchman had an elderly friend named Lonnie Caldwell who watched from some distance away.

Two weeks later, two witnesses, James Hargett and Alonzo Suggs, came forward who placed themselves within forty feet of the call box at the time of the shooting.  They identified Green, a Navy veteran, as the killer.  Caldwell could only say that Green looked something like the killer.  At trial in Jan. 1947, Green's defense presented several witnesses who were in the area at the time of the shooting and who testified that Green did not resemble the killer.

In 1957, after Green had served 10 years of imprisonment, Hargett came forward and admitted he did not see Green at the scene of the murder.  He said the other witness, Suggs, paid him $100 to give false testimony.  Suggs was a homosexual who had once been beaten up by Green after propositioning him.  The district attorney investigated Hargett's claim and satisfied himself that it was true.  Green was subsequently pardoned.  (The Innocents) (C v. G 1948) (C v. G 1957)  [7/09]


Ector County, TX James Harry Reyos Dec 21, 1981 (Odessa)

For reasons unknown, James Harry Reyos confessed in New Mexico to police that he had killed a Catholic priest, Father Patrick Ryan, during a homosexual tryst in a West Texas motel.  However, every other piece of testimony controverted his guilt.  Reyos had an airtight alibi:  He was 200 miles away when the priest was bludgeoned to death.  Reyos could prove his alibi with time-stamped receipts, a speeding ticket, and even an eyewitness.  Father Ryan was a much beloved priest, and Reyos's allegations that the father had repeatedly solicited young men for sex shocked and offended the jurors.  Reyos was convicted and sentenced to 38 years of imprisonment.  The state's attorney responding to Reyos's appeal made himself a timeline of the crime and realized that Reyos could not have committed the crime.  The attorney put in a pardon request but it was turned down.  Reyos was paroled in 2003.  (AJ) (Chronicle)


Harris County, TX Calvin Burdine Apr 18, 1983
Calvin Burdine was convicted of murdering his gay lover, W.T. “Dub” Wise, at the trailer home the two shared in Houston.  Burdine allegedly was angry because Wise had asked him to prostitute himself to earn more money.  The federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Burdine's conviction because his lawyer, Joe Frank Cannon, was asleep during his trial.  The Court ruled that “sleeping counsel is equivalent to no counsel at all,” a violation of Burdine's Sixth Amendment right to counsel.  Cannon slept as many as 10 times, for as long as 10 minutes, during Burdine's six-day trial.  Burdine was released in 2001 and his case came to a legal end in 2002 when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Texas' appeal of the Fifth Circuit's ruling.  [10/05]


Dane County, WI Penny Brummer Mar 15, 1994 (Madison)
Penny Brummer was convicted of murdering Sarah Gonstead, a female friend of her lesbian ex-lover.  The case against Brummer was built on conjecture and thin circumstantial evidence.  Brummer's case is the subject of a book, Who Killed Sarah? by Sheila and Doug Berry.  (TruthInJustice)


Australia (SA) David Szach June 4-5, 1979
David Szach was convicted of the murder of 44-year-old Derrance Stevenson, an Adelaide lawyer.  Szach, then 19, had been in a gay relationship with Stevenson for three years.  Stevenson's body was found in his freezer with a gunshot wound to his head.  (NetK)