CFC # 10844

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CASE DESCRIPTIONS BY MONTH, DATE, and CITY IN 2004

JANUARY

Honolulu, Hawaii

Four Teens Leave Homeless Man in Critical Condition

January 8: Four teenagers beat and stabbed an unidentified homeless man, leaving him in critical condition at Queen’s Medical Center.  Lynn Mauneaka, director of The Institute for Human Services, an emergency shelter in Oahu, described the attack as “extreme” and “ugly.”  A witness reported one of the attackers saying, “I got the guy good by knifing him.” Savannah Balai, 19, Percy Elevenia, 18, and an unnamed 15-year-old were charged with second-degree assault.

Sources:  Honolulu Advertiser, “4 arrested in attack on homeless man,” 1/10/04; Honolulu Advertiser “3 charged in beating of homeless man” 1/13/04

Maple Valley, Washington

Couple Beats Homeless Man, Leaves Him to Die in the Snow

January 8: Shirin Galinkin, 27, and David Pulcino, 45, were arrested and charged with second-degree murder on October 25 for the death of 57-year old Jeffery Thompson.

Galinkin and Pulcino admitted to severely beating Thompson during an argument after the three had been drinking together.  The couple then left Thompson to die under an old railroad trestle, where a passerby found his body.

Thompson, a Vietnam veteran, was well known in the small town of Maple Valley, where he had lived in his entire life.  He performed odd jobs for neighbors, told stories, and lent out books from his large collection.

Following Thompson’s death, the town held a memorial service, and a local 16-year old helped raise a $200 reward for anyone who could help catch Thompson’s killers.

“People responded on a very deep level to his soul,” noted Maple Valley resident Stanette Marie Rose.

Sources: Seattle Times, “Couple arrested in beating death of homeless man,” 10/21/04; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “Arrests in death of homeless man left to die in snowy January,” 10/22/04; Seattle Times, “Pair held in killing of homeless man,” 10/22/04; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “Couple charged with killing homeless man,” 10/26/04; New York Times, “Homeless Man is Killed and a Town Pours Out Prayers,” 11/03/04

New York City, New York

Two MTA Police Charged With Assaulting Homeless Man

January 18: Sergeant Joseph Camean and Officer Michael Koenig, both police officers with the Metropolitan Transit Authority, were indicted in the beating of a homeless man after ejecting him from Penn Station. Koenig and two fellow officers escorted Maurice Cherry out of Penn Station. According to the assistant district attorney, an argument then ensued in which Koenig began to beat Cherry over the head with a metal baton, causing him to curl into the fetal position.

Two witnesses reported the assault, which was also captured by a surveillance camera.

Sergeant Camean, 32, was later informed of the assault, but both he and Koenig failed to report the incident to authorities or record it in their memo books.

Officer Koenig, age 34, was charged with Assault in the Second Degree, Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, and Official Misconduct.  Sergeant Camean was charged with Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree and Official Misconduct. Both officers initially pleaded not guilty and were suspended from the MTA without pay.

Koenig later changed his plea to guilty and was ordered to do 200 hours of community service; he eventually resigned from his position.

Sources:  News Release, District Attorney of New York County, 10/12/04; Daily News, “Charge 2 MTA Cops Beat Homeless Man,” 10/13/04; New York Times, “Officer Charged in Beating of Homeless Man Outside Penn Station,” 10/13/04; Homeless Grapevine, “MTA Police Officer Beats Homeless Man,”#69-2005

Homeless Man Seeking Refuge from Cold Beaten to Death

January 26: An unidentified homeless man, believed to be in his 20’s, was found dead in the basement of an apartment building where he had been seeking refuge from the bitter cold.  Jose Perez, 42, was charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the fatal beating. 

Source:  New York Daily News, “Charge Tenant in Slaying at Brooklyn Building” 1/26/04

 
MARC
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Women and Children Harassed Outside Mission

March 22: Women and children, residents at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, were pelted with rocks by a group of neighborhood men.  The attacks stopped when a young male resident from the mission intervened.  Later, as the same young man walked down the street, approximately 20 men jumped him.  When he returned to the mission for help, he was turned away. The man filed a police report, but no progress has been made.

Source: Lori Anne Fuller, Kalamazoo Homeless Action Network, 5/10/04

Key West, Florida

Two Teens Beat a Homeless Man in His Sleep

March 23: Two teenagers, 17 and 18, were arrested and charged with battery for attacking a sleeping homeless man.

The 58-year-old man was found with large, bloody cuts on his forehead.  A witness directed two police officers to the location where “several males” were beating the homeless man.  When the police arrived, they saw the teens punch the victim repeatedly, then stand up, laugh, and give each other high-fives.

Source: Keysnews.com, “Teens accused of beating a homeless man in Key West,” 3/22/04

New York City, New York

3 Department of Homeless Services Officers Arrested in the Beating of a Shelter Resident

March 31:  Sgt. Raul Perez, 29, along with officers Wayne Davidson, 44, and Richie Mann, 28 were charged with assault for the beating of a resident in the Bellevue Men’s Shelter in Manhattan.  The three peace officers, employed by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), attacked the 20-year-old man in a hallway and elevator with a metal garbage can. The man was treated for cuts and bruises.

The spokesman for DHS, Jim Anderson, said the agency will not stand for any abuse and that “the alleged abuse of power sharply contradicts the values and standard practices of the program.  DHS has no tolerance for behavior of this type and the three officers have been suspended without pay.”

Source:  Newsday “3 officers held in beating at shelter” 4/2/04

 
APRIL

Bend, Oregon

Teen Hits, Kicks, and Stomps Homeless Man to Death

April 16: Stephen Withrow, 17, is charged with murder, manslaughter, robbery, and assault after allegedly killing Curtis Dean Kizer, a 42-year old homeless man.

According to local authorities, Withrow told detectives that on April 16, he drank nine beers with several friends in the woods. Soon after Withrow, with two friends, approached Kizer, who was waiting to be served dinner by a local church group. He made small talk with Kizer, and then punched him in the face without warning, rendering him unconscious.

Withrow continued to punch Kizer in the face, all the while yelling, swearing, and referring to him as homeless.  He then repeatedly climbed up a set of nearby stairs and jumped onto Kizer’s chest.

Kizer’s friends and the youths accompanying Withrow agreed that the attack was completely unprovoked.

Withrow has a criminal record, including charges of first-degree theft, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of alcohol by a minor, criminal mischief, and first-degree burglary. 

Moreover, police found two binders in Withrow’s room that contained handwritten notes about his desire to kill someone.  Withrow pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was given 20 years in prison.

Sources: Associated Press, “Teen facing murder charge in death of homeless man,” 4/21/04; Bend Bulletin, “Teen arraigned in case of Drake Park killing,” 4/28/04; Bend.com, “Teen Drake Park slaying suspect had many run-ins,” 5/7/04; Bend.com, “Footbridge murder suspect to enter plea Dec. 6,” 10/4/04; The Associated Press State & Local Wire, “Teen will serve 20 years after manslaughter plea,” 4/13/05

Weymouth, Massachusetts

51-Year-Old Homeless Man Beaten by 19 Year-Old

April 15: 19-year-old Daniel Cronin was arrested and charged for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Cronin was reported to have hit a 51 year-old homeless man with a rock and then chased him with a stick.  

Source:  The Patriot Ledger “Homeless man beaten; police make arrest” 4/16/04

 
MAY

Lompoc, California

Man Set on Fire, Found Two Days Later

May 29: A sleeping 53-year-old homeless man was set on fire in the downtown area, sustaining serious burns on his back and arms. He was discovered two days later when a passerby heard his moans.  The police are searching for three teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 believed to be responsible for the attack.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, “Teens Who Set Homeless Man on Fire Sought” 5/29/04;

Associated Press, “Teens Allegedly Set Homeless Man on Fire,” 5/30/04

 
JUNE

Austin, Texas

Homeless Man Beaten to Death

June 15: 43-year-old Curtis Ray Wilson, a homeless man, was severely beaten before collapsing and dying in the lobby of a business in Austin. Several months after the savage beating death, his alleged attacker was arrested and brought to trial. His motivation purportedly was to impress his girlfriend.

Curtis suffered from mental illness. He was known and loved by hundreds of people for his good nature and sense of humor.

House the Homeless, an Austin advocacy group, honored Lisa Morrill, the detective who arrested Wilson’s alleged killer, with the Curtis Ray Wilson Compassion Award. She was recognized for resisting pressures to close the case; insisting that Mr. Wilson was a “regular person and deserved to be treated as decently as anyone else.” The name of Curtis Ray Wilson was read along with eighty-eight other people at the 2004 Homeless memorial Sunrise Service. Each year Austinites and concerned citizens from all across the nation, gather in their local communities to acknowledge the men and women who have lost their lives while living on the streets of America.

Sources: KEYE, “Homeless Man Murdered in Austin,” 6/16/04; KVUE News, “Suspect identified in attack on homeless man,” 6/18/04; Richard R. Troxell, President of House the Homeless, Austin

Corpus Christi, Texas

Up to Eight Suspects Set Sleeping Man on Fire

June 15: At approximately 3:45 a.m., a homeless man, Lucas Adam Wiser, 21,was sleeping in front of Corpus Christi Metro Ministries, when he was set on fire. He was hospitalized with third-degree burns on his arms and legs.  Police suspect that up to eight men were involved in the crime. Surveillance cameras recorded the attack, leading to the conviction of two individuals.

One, a 15-year-old boy, accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to a maximum 10-year term for aggravated assault. Another man, Michael Enoch, 20, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the same crime. 

Advocates fear that this may be related to other attacks on homeless people.  Three other attacks by teenagers have recently occurred in the area.  “One guy was asleep and woke up to find an iron bar across his face,” attests Patricia Henry of the Mother Teresa Shelter.  One homeless man was beaten with a belt buckle.  Another attack occurred when a homeless man was nearly run over by car following a confrontation.

Sources: Associated Press, “Video shows homeless man being set ablaze,” 6/17/04; Dallas Morning News, “Advocate for homeless fears attacks may be on the rise,” 6/18/04; Houston Chronicle “Torching of homeless man caught on camera / Corpus Christi police seek clues” 6/18/04; Caller Times, “Homeless man flees hospital,” 6/19/04; Real Change, “North American Newsbriefs,” 6/20/04; Houston Chronicle, “Teen Detained in Attack on Homeless Man Set Ablaze,” 6/21/04; Corpus Christi Caller-Times, “Fire suspect, 15, accepts plea deal.”9/22/04

Nashville, Tennessee

Driver Intentionally Runs Into Homeless Man’s Shopping Cart

June 13: Jesse Holt, 23, has been charged with aggravated assault after deliberately driving his pickup truck into 48-year-old Kenneth McCart’s shopping cart. The well-known and well-liked McCart sustained injuries to his knees, elbows, and forehead. Following the accident, McCart began to suffer from seizures and is currently receiving treatment at Skyline Medical Center. 

Holt admits intentionally running into the shopping cart, claiming that he was angry that McCart was “lollygagging in the road being a safety hazard,” but says that he had no intention of seriously injuring McCart. After hitting McCart, Holt continued driving to his job at Papa John’s, where he was currently on the clock.

Sources: The Tennessean, “Driver hits homeless man’s cart deliberately,” 6/27/04; The Tennessean, “Some think attacks on homeless should be considered hate crimes,” 9/5/0

New York City, New York

Two Teens Viciously Beat Homeless Man to Death Outside Church

June 17: Dashorn Washington and Jamel Robinson, both 15, were charged with second-degree murder in the death of 51-year-old William Pearson, who officially died of a fractured skull.

According to police reports, Washington and Robinson pulled the sleeping Pearson out of an abandoned car parked at a gas station. They proceed to kick and punch him, eventually hitting him with a nearby milk crate.

Pearson was able to free himself and run toward St. Gabriel’s Roman Catholic Church.  The teens soon caught up and began hitting him with garbage cans.  They followed Pearson into the churchyard and attacked him with as many as thirty bricks.  Pearson managed to crawl to the front of the church, where a priest saw him and called 911.

Pearson died soon after the 3:15 a.m. call.  “His head was a bloody mess,” one officer reported. Neither Washington nor Robinson have shown remorse for the murder, police say.  One was reported to have bragged, “I got my body.”

Pearson was well known and liked by many of the older residents of the area. He was described as kind-hearted and helpful during his three or four years on the street, which began after his mother died. Children in the neighborhood nicknamed him Mr. Billy.

Local teenagers however, frequently harassed him.

Both Washington and Robinson were charged as adults with murder and criminal possession of a weapon. In April of 2005, a jury took only a few hours to convict Robinson of second-degree murder.

In May of 2005, Robinson was given the maximum sentence of 15 years to life in prison.  “You took a helpless person and stoned him to death….  I can think of few crimes that are worse than that,” Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Anne Feldman told Robinson, now 16.

Sources: New York Daily News, “Beaten to death at Mary’s feet,” 6/18/04; New York Times, “Homeless Man Dies in Beating; Police Arrest 2 Teenagers,” 6/18/04; New York Times, “Homeless Man is Killed; 2 Teenagers Are Arrested,” 6/18/04; New York Post, “’I Got My Body,’” 6/18/04; Newsday “Killing of Homeless Man” 6/19/04;New York Daily News, “Homeless Man’s Killer Gets Max,” 5/3/05; New York Times, “Teenager Gets Maximum Term for Killing Homeless Man,”5/4/0

Santa Cruz, California

Homeless Man Beaten By Youths

June 16: A homeless man, who wishes to remain anonymous, was attacked with baseball bats by a group of young men as he slept outdoors in his sleeping bag.

Source: Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom (HUFF), 6/16/0

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Killing of Bar Owner Stirs Up Hatred Against Homeless Community

June 24: According to District Attorney Tim Harris, bar owner Shawn Howard, 35, and bar manager Josh Martin came upon homeless man Terry Badgewell, 39, as they were attempting to drive away drug dealers. The two men ordered Badgewell to leave.

An altercation ensued in which Howard struck Badgewell in the face with a pair of brass knuckles.  In turn Badgewell hit Howard repeatedly with a pipe, killing him. Since the incident, homeless citizens of Tulsa have faced intense criticism and discrimination.

Wanted posters have been placed around town prominently featuring Badgewell’s image.  T-shirts stating, “Fuck the homeless” have been printed and distributed throughout Tulsa.  Homeless people who frequent a local Salvation Army shelter have been chased away.

Harris declined to prosecute the case, saying that the evidence indicates that Badgewell was acting in self-defense.  However, Howard’s mother filed a petition in August seeking a grand jury probe of her son’s death.  The petition received enough signatures to warrant the creation of a grand jury to indict Badgewell. 

Badgewell has been in jail since December 9, 2004. He faces trial on charges of first-degree murder and assault with a dangerous weapon.

“We will defend this vigorously,” stated Badgewell’s attorney, Steve Hjelm. 

Sources: Associated Press, “Tulsa Bar Owner’s Family Fails To Sway Prosecutor,” 8/2/04; Associated Press, “Fatal beating of bar owner by homeless man leads to backlash against homeless in Tulsa,” 8/17/04; Associated Press, “Petition Granted For Grand Jury Investigation,” 8/17/04; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “Tulsa killing sparks war against homeless,” 8/17/04; Chicago Sun-Times, “Oklahomans lash out at homeless for slaying,” 8/18/04; Associated Press, “Grand jury indicts man in death of bar owner,” 12/9/04; The Associated Press State & Local Wire, “Man bound over for trial on beating charges,”4/28/05

 

JULY

Baltimore, Maryland

Man arrested in fatal beating

July 6: James Edward Johnson, 39, was arrested for the fatal beating of Keith Lusby, 48, a homeless man.  Witnesses say that Johnson attacked him after Lusby made a negative comment to Johnson’s girlfriend.  Lusby’s severely beaten body was found behind a gas station.  The state medical examiner’s office determined that he died from fatal head injuries.

Source:  Baltimore Sun, “Essex man arrested in fatal beating murder charge is filed in homeless man’s death.  Suspect admitted role, police say,” 7/06/04

Galveston, Texas

Tensions Mounting due to Attacks on Homeless Community

July 17: The homeless community of Galveston has experienced attacks, virtually everyday, at the hands of teenagers armed with bats, knives, and guns. Between April and June, 18 homeless people were hospitalized due to these assaults.

Stephen Davis, 39, was chased by bicyclists wielding bats, and saved only by a motorist who opened her car door to let him in.  Michael Seesman, 50, pointed out holes in windows where BB pellets were shot at a homeless camp. Roy Wright suffered a slash on his arm from shoulder to elbow, while his friend was beaten into a concussion.

Only one police report has been filed for crime against a homeless resident; a 50-year-old man was hit in the mouth. Local homeless people note, however, that many more attacks have occurred.  Incidents go unreported due to negative relations between police and people experiencing homelessness, where 83 citations have already been given this year for impeding the sidewalk, each costing up to $127.

Source: Houston Chronicle, “Men blame teens for rash of attacks at Galveston camp,” 7/16/04

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Teens Seek out a Homeless Man to Beat and Kill

July 29: The body of Horacio Lima, 43, was found underneath a bridge in Milwaukee.  Police say that he was beaten over the head repeatedly with what was probably a piece of lumber.  According to the reports of other homeless people, this beating was one of many violent acts against the homeless community in that area.  Police are searching for two suspects in the case, but no arrests have been made. 

Sources:  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “Death of Homeless Man Draws Inquiry” 7/31/04; The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “Attackers Bash” 8/3/04

Oakland, California

Homeless Man Beaten to Death by Teens Claiming “Boredom”

July 17: Two 16-year-olds and a 15-year-old were arrested and charged with murder in the beating death of Dalrus Joseph Brown (“DJ”), 52.

The teens told police that they had originally intended to shoot factory windows with their BB guns, but when they came upon Brown, they changed their minds.

The boys began to hit and kick the sleeping homeless man, and then shot him repeatedly with a BB gun.  Finally, they beat him with wooden boards and ripped apart his makeshift shelter.  Brown, who made money by recycling cans, was found dead with his face and clothing covered in blood.

Police later reported that the boys claimed to have killed Brown because “they were bored and they didn’t have anything to do.”  It has not yet been decided if the three teens will be tried as adults.

The vicious attack on Brown came on the heels of several other attacks on homeless men in the area similarly involving boards and weapons.

Sources: Oakland Tribune, “Homeless man killed by youths,” 7/18/04; KTVU, “Vicious Thugs Terrorize Oakland Homeless,” 7/19/04; San Francisco Chronicle, “Youths’ fatal beating of homeless man is mystery to his family,” 7/20/04;Oakland Tribune, “3 teens arrested in homeless man’s death,” 7/24/04; Bay City News, “Police: Teens in Homeless Beating Were Bored,” 7/26/04; Associated Press, “Suspects in Slaying of Homeless Man Just ‘Bored,’” 7/27/04; Street Spirit, “The Murder of a Homeless Man in Oakland,” August 2004; San Francisco Bay View, “Attacks along the railroad tracks,” 8/11/04

 

AUGUST

Anchorage, Alaska

Youths Attack Homeless Man, Flee in Stolen Car

August 19: Three 14-year-old boys and a 15-year-old girl were involved in the assault of a 54-year-old homeless man in the early morning of August 19.  The boys knocked the man down and repeatedly kicked and punched him as the girl stood by watching.

The teens fled in a car after an off-duty police officer stopped to assist the man.  All four were arrested soon after they abandoned the vehicle at a gas station and tried to run from police.

The girl told police that the three boys had beaten another homeless man without provocation just an hour before. All three of the boys were charged with assault, while two of the boys and the girl were charged with vehicular theft.

According to Don Bertis, director of a local shelter, reports of abuse are not uncommon, though many go undocumented. In the past month, one man’s tent was set on fire and two other people were beaten to the point of needing medical attention.

Source: Anchorage Daily News, “Group of 14-year-olds beat homeless man,” 8/19/04

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Homeless Man Attacked

August 26: A 50-year-old homeless man was robbed and assaulted by a man who stole his watch.  The victim was able to give police the first name of his attacker, who is suspected of attacking a number of other homeless people in the area in recent weeks.

Source: Everything Michigan, “Homeless man assaulted, robbed,” 8/26/04

Chicago, Illinois

Sleeping Homeless Man Beaten to Death

August 10: James Z. Cotton, 22, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the beating death of 63-year-old homeless man Floyd Johnson, locally known as Rico.

Cotton admitted that he stomped on and kicked Johnson before beating him to death with pieces of Johnson’s own wooden table.  Police discovered Johnson with massive head injuries on the sidewalk where he slept.  He died at a nearby hospital.

Johnson’s friends describe him as a good and respectful man who was constantly the victim of cruelty.  In one incident both his walker and cane had been stolen.  In another case, an unknown attacker exploded fireworks in his mouth while he slept.

Sources: ABC 7, “Homeless man beaten to death,” 8/10/04; Chicago Tribune, “Homeless man beaten to death on sidewalk,” 8/11/04; Chicago Tribune, “Suspect held in beating death of homeless man,” 8/15/04

Denver, Colorado

Wheelchair-bound Homeless Man Stabbed to Death

August 7: Curtis Gordon Adams, 33, was arrested in the stabbing death of homeless man Clyde Ashcraft, 38. 

Neighbors suspect that Adams had paid Ashcraft to let him beat him up in order to impress an ex-girlfriend.

Adams and the ex-girlfriend began arguing in the middle of the street in the late afternoon, as Ashcraft sat nearby in his wheelchair. Witnesses reported that Adams then pulled out a knife and began punching and stabbing Ashcraft, finally killing him with a stab to the throat.

After Ashcraft collapsed back into his wheelchair, Adams whipped his hands down Ashcraft’s body, then licked the blood from his fingers. A neighbor stood by Ashcraft’s side, comforting him as he died.

Adams, according to someone who had taken him in, was obsessed with the desire to win back his ex-girlfriend and had already served time for first-degree assault. Ashcraft had lived on the streets for five years.  Frostbite claimed half of his right foot and all the toes on his left; he used a wheelchair for support. Ashcraft and his dog were close to finding a permanent home through Section 8 housing.

Friends of Ashcraft believe it was far-fetched for him to agree to a paid beating.

Police had no comments.

Sources:  The Denver Post, ”Painful life, brutal ending in city street.  A Denver homeless man is slain in a possibly planned attack to “impress” the accused killer’s ex-girlfriend.  It escalated into a bloody death,” 8/08/04;  The Denver Post, “Homeless man slain in bizarre stabbing,” 8/10/04

Greenville, North Carolina

No Pattern in Attacks Near Shelter

August 25: Officials at the Greenville Community Shelters stated that shelter residents have reported attacks that ranged from egg throwing to violent assaults.

The police have only received one official report of an assault against a homeless person.  Major Kevin Smeltzer, with the Greenville Police Department, said that if there are other similar incidents, the police need to hear about them.  “There’s not any pattern of one group of people going around and beating up people that we’ve been made aware of,” Smeltzer said.

However, Lou Williams, shelter operations manager, said that there have been five incidents involving homeless people in or near the shelter. In one case, four residents were sitting at a playground near the shelter when a group of youths threw rocks at them in late May. In June, a group of youths threw rocks at the shelter and vehicles in an adjacent parking lot, but no damages were reported. In another case, a shelter resident reported that on August 18th a group of kids threw rocks at a shelter entrance and tried to push the door open as an employee held it closed.

Source:  The Daily Reflector, “Police:  No pattern in attacks near shelter,” 8/25/04

Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico

Homeless Man Wounded in Pre-Dawn Shooting

August 10:  According to police reports, homeless man Meftali Mojica was wounded in a pre-dawn shooting. The unidentified attacker stepped out of his car and shot Mojica in the abdomen before speeding away.

Source: The San Juan Star: “Homeless man wounded in pre-dawn shooting” 8/10/05

SEPTEMBER

Aurora, Illinois

Homeless Man Shot and Beaten

September 28: Up to six men attacked a 56-year-old homeless man behind a church.  The man had been sleeping in a tent when he heard approaching footsteps. Upon leaving his tent, he was blinded by a light and then shot twice in the stomach with a pellet gun.  In addition he was punched in the arm and the head, causing him to fall to the ground.  The man was treated at a local hospital for his injuries.

Source: Aurora Beacon News, “Homeless man beaten behind church,” 9/30/04

Clinton Township, Michigan

Youths Attack Two Homeless Men

September 24: Three youths, aged 12, 14, and 16, attacked two homeless men by pelting them with rocks under a bridge.  Each teen has been charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and disturbing the peace.

Source: The Detroit News, “Seniors may be targets of attacks,” 11/15/04

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Teens Kill Homeless Man Over $5 Dispute

September 21: Three teenagers were arrested for the murder of 48-year-old homeless man Thomas Hardy.  All three teens will be tried as adults.

Jason Schwartz, 17, Anthony Glacken, 17, and Dustin Moser, 18, were all charged with second and third-degree murder, robbery, and criminal conspiracy.  Moser is also charged with first-degree murder.

Police say that Glacken and Schwartz had attended a party at the campsite where Hardy’s body was later found.  Hardy gave several beers to the teens, for which Glacken says he paid for.  An argument soon broke out in which Schwartz hit Hardy several times.

The two teens left the campsite and returned later with Moser to “finish the fight” and get Glacken’s money back.  The three teens repeatedly beat Hardy over the head with their fists and a wooden log until he was unconscious. They then rifled through his pockets, stealing his money, wallet, ID, and lottery tickets.  Hardy ultimately died of blunt force trauma to the head. Prosecutors expect the trials for all three teens to begin in September 2005.

Sources: Gettysburg Times, “Homeless man murdered,” 9/24/04;Patriot News, “3 face trial in beating death; Teens Robbed Homeless Man of $4 at his campsite, police say,” 9/30/04; Evening Sun, “Hardy murder trial on docket,” 12/30/04

Loiza, Puerto Rico

Homeless Man Target of Drive-by Shooting

September 27: Edwin Vazquez Parrilla, 30, was wounded Saturday night in a drive-by shooting. An unidentified gunman pulled up and shot the homeless man in the leg before driving off. He was taken to Carolina Regional Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition.

Source: The San Juan Star: “Homeless man target of drive-by shooting,” 9/27/04

 
OCTOBER

Albany, New York

Teens Beat Homeless Man, Then Torch His Belongings

October 18: Two sixteen-year-old girls, Princess Gause and Tyleisha Dutton, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief after they attacked 50-year-old homeless Navy veteran Michael Coene. The girls were arrested after they bragged to friends at school about the attack.

The teens admitted buying gasoline, pouring it on Coene’s belongings, and lighting them on fire as a 14-year-old companion beat Coene with a shovel handle.  Coene lost everything he owned, including his Bible, his insulin, and his clothes.

Coene suffered an injured knee and hand in the attack, and needed stitches in his left ear.  The local Homeless Action Committee and private donors have started a fund to help Coene.

Gause and Dutton must now undergo psychiatric evaluations and complete 100 hours of community service in nearby homeless shelters. The boy has been charged with felony assault.

Sources: Times Union, “After beating, homeless man grateful for help,” 10/21/04; Capital 9 News, “Fund started for homeless man,” 10/21/04; WTEN, “Two More Arrested In Homeless Man Beating,” 10/22/04; Fox 23, “More Teens Charged In Homeless Man Attack,” 10/24/04; Street Roots, “Teens admit involvement in attack on homeless man,” 11/22/04; Times Union, “Teenage girls admit roles in beating, fire,” 12/1/04

Corvallis, Oregon

Teens Brutally Beat Homeless Man to Death

October 20: Three teenagers were arrested and charged with murder, first-degree manslaughter, and second-degree assault in the beating death of 52-year-old Mark Miller.

Miller, who friends say began to turn his life around by doing odd jobs for local families, was found beaten to death under a bridge. His injuries ranged from broken ribs and a broken nose to a lacerated liver and a collapsed lung.

Cruise Cassidy, 19, Michael Martin, 19, and Tyler Boyce, 15, allegedly had several

confrontations with Miller in the weeks before his death.  All three will be tried as adults.

Sources: KEZI, “Homeless Man Beaten to Death,” 10/21/04; Corvallis Gazette-Times, “Negotiations under way in homicide case,” 1/5/05

Denver, Colorado

Numerous Homeless Deaths Recall Killings of 1999

October 17: As of October 2004, at least nine homeless men have been murdered in Denver, eclipsing the seven murders of Denver homeless men in 1999.  Three of this year’s cases have been solved; yet only one of the cases from 1999 has been solved.

Richard Darwin Torres, David Tricola, Mark Iverson, Gary Trujillo, Clyde Ashcraft Lee Goldsmith, Anastacio Rodriguez, Stephen Nye, and Michael Weibel have all been killed in the past several months.  They were variously beaten, shot, run over, or stabbed.

Only one suspect, Steven Frank Lucero, 38, has been arrested. He will be tried for the stabbing death of Michael Weibel.

Many non-lethal attacks on the homeless have occurred as well.  Five teens beat a homeless man with a two-by-four near the South Platte River.  Another group beat a man in a wheelchair, stealing his prescription pain medicine.  Ned Sokolovic, during his first night homeless, was robbed of all his money and then beaten with a tire iron.

Homeless people have expressed alarm about the escalating violence often initiated by thrill-seeking youths.  One homeless man reported that three youths recently pummeled him just for fun while he was having a seizure. Another homeless man said he was beaten by a group of young men and women after he tried to stop them from hitting a girl.

Ed Valerio, a police officer who has worked with homeless people for seven years, said Denver’s homeless know that at night they must group together to avoid young drunks who prey on them. The police do not believe a link exists between the recent homicides of homeless men and the 1999 murders.

Sources: Denver Post, “Deaths of 2 men being investigated,” 6/30/04;Denver Post, “Another homeless man killed. Second body is found; police believe slayings are not related,” 7/1/04; Denver Post, “On Denver’s streets, the homeless are easy prey,” 10/17/04; Denver VOICE, “Violence on the Street,” October 2004; Denver VOICE, “It’s 1999, all over again!” November 2004

Fairfax, Virginia

Teen Attacks Homeless Man

October 28: A 51-year-old homeless man was found bleeding and unresponsive after being beaten by a teenager as he crossed a street.  The man was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital for treatment.

The suspect, who remains at large, is a white male, approximately 17 years old, 6 feet tall, 170 pounds, with short brown hair and a black leather jacket.

Sources: NBC 4, “Homeless Man Beat In Fairfax County,” 10/28/04; Washington Post, “Fairfax Homeless Man Beaten by Youth,” 10/29/04

Keizer, Oregon

Homeless Woman Suffocated

October 24: Homeless woman Patricia Ann Harkey, 38, was found suffocated outside the home of 30-year-old Ryan Lee Vetter. Vetter, who has a criminal history including kidnapping and assault, was arrested and charged with the murder.

Sources: KATU, “Keizer man charged in death of homeless woman,” 10/24/04; Associated Press,

“Keizer Woman Was Suffocated,” 10/26/04

Lawrenceburg, Tennessee

Homeless Man Attacked By Park Rangers

Two park rangers accosted a homeless man, who had been allowed to use the state park shower facilities free of charge, when he attempted to take his weekly shower.

The rangers, who were not wearing official uniforms and did not identify themselves, asked to search the man’s backpack and frisk him. Fearing an assault, the man asked for a senior ranger or a police officer to be present.

The rangers refused, and insisted that he hand over his backpack. When he did not, they began to kick and wrestle with him. One ranger struck him with a flashlight, cracking his collarbone.

The man was then handcuffed and taken to the Sheriff’s Department. His bicycle and belongings were confiscated and not returned for several days. The homeless man was only allowed to leave the jail after his pastor posted bail.

Source: Incident Report Form, Davy Crockett State Park, Lawrenceburg, TN, October 2004

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Teens Brutally Beat Homeless Man to Death

October 10: Three teenagers have been arrested and charged as adults with first-degree intentional homicide in the beating death of Rex Baum, 49.

Andrew Ihrcke, 17, Luis Oyola, 16, and Nathan Moore, 15, admitted to killing the homeless man, who died of multiple blunt force trauma. 

Ihrcke told police that the three teens went into the woods looking for “where the bum lived.” They came across Baum in the forest, and asked him to buy them beer.  He agreed, and the four drank together.

As Baum went to get a sandwich from his cooler, Ihrcke began throwing leaves and wrappers at Baum’s head, while another teen smeared feces on his ear.  Moore threw a stick at Baum’s face, causing him to bleed.

The beating soon escalated, as the teens attacked Baum with rocks, a flashlight, a grill, a pipe, a bat, and their feet.  More feces were smeared on Baum’s head. Baum tried to escape, but the teens decided to kill him to keep him from going to police.

They continued beating Baum until they suspected he was dead. According to a criminal complaint report, the teens beat the man for fun, and then “hit the victim one last time to see if he would make a sound like in Grand Theft Auto.  He didn’t.”  Ihrcke then pulled out a knife and cut Baum twice to see if he was still alive.  “’He didn’t move or nothing,” Ihrcke said.

After they killed Baum, the teens wiped the bat clean and covered Baum’s body with plastic and rocks, hoping animals would eat him before the body was discovered.  Another homeless man found Baum two days later.

Over 100 friends, relatives, and strangers attended Baum’s funeral.  He was a familiar and welcome face for many in the town; remembered as a hardworking, friendly, helpful and generous man. Faisal Bhimani, a local storeowner for whom Baum often did odd jobs, said that he had just lost his best friend. 

Baum is not the first homeless man to be murdered in the area in recent months.  A 43-year-old homeless man was found beaten to death under a viaduct in July.

In March of 2005, two of the teens entered guilty pleas.  Ihrcke pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of first-degree reckless homicide, as did Nathan Moore.  Sentencing is expected in late spring of 2005.  Both face up to 60 years in prison.  The third defendant, Luis Oyola, has an upcoming hearing for a possible plea deal on a charge of first-degree intentional homicide, which carries a mandatory life sentence.

Sources; Milwaukee Channel, “3 Milwaukee Teens Charged With Beating, Killing Homeless Man,” 10/15/04; Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “3 teens charged in homeless man’s death,” 10/19/04; Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel “Death of Homeless Man Leaves Many in Bay View Shaken and Saddened,” 10/20/04; Associated Press, “Teens charged in slaying of homeless man,” 10/21/04;

New York City, New York

Homeless Man Critically Beaten

October 30: Jose Cantue, a 61-year-old homeless man, was attacked after speaking to a woman passing by. Witnesses said the woman’s companion became extremely upset and hit the homeless man with a garbage can, despite the woman’s pleas for him to stop.  The injured man was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital for treatment.  He died on November 11.No arrests have been made.  The suspect, in his 20s, was with three women at the time.  Neither the suspect nor the women have been identified. John Caserta, a friend of Cantue’s, said, “He helped kids cross the street.  He gave them candy and toys.  He didn’t deserve what he got.”

Source: Newsday, “Homeless man critical after attack,” 10/31/04;New York Daily News, “Pushed Panhandler Dies,”11/12/04

Toms River, New Jersey

Five Teens Beat Three Homeless People in “Bum-Hunting” Attacks

October 22: Five Toms River High School seniors have been arrested for allegedly attacking three local homeless people because they were “bored.”  Frank Novak, 18, along with two 17-year-olds, were charged with aggravated assault. Two other 17-year-olds were charged with aggravated assault and criminal mischief.

The most recent of the attacks occurred when 50-year-old homeless man Larry Radomski reported being beaten with pipes and baseball bats as he slept in the woods.  The teens also threw hockey pucks at him.  He suffered five broken ribs, a fractured arm, and a punctured lung. This was the second assault against him by teens that day.

Earlier in October, the group allegedly threw bricks at a 42-year-old homeless woman, who required hospitalization after being hit twice in the head and suffered from facial lacerations.

In June, a 44-year-old homeless man was attacked by a group of teens that hit him with their hands and a golf club, causing injuries to his shoulders, arms, and face. Local police chief Michael Mastronardy was reported as saying, “‘Apparently they were actually searching people out who are homeless…merely because of their stature in life.’”

The teens later bragged about their so-called “bum-hunting” at school.

Sources: Newsday, “5 teens held in ‘bum hunting’ attacks on homeless,” 10/28/04; International HomelessNess, “Beating of homeless stun most TR students,” 10/31/04; Asbury Park Press, “Homeless Man Injured Again,” 11/7/04; Asbury Park Press “Adult trial sought in homeless assaults” 11/13/04; Ocean County Observer “‘Bum Hunters’ could be tried as adults” 11/14/04;

Waverly, Ohio

Gay Homeless Man Beaten, Stripped, Left to Die in Dumpster

October 2: Matthew Ferman, 22, James Trent Jr., 19, and Martin Baxter, 28, were arrested for the beating death of Daniel Fetty, 39. 

Fetty, who had a hearing impairment and had recently lost his apartment in a fire, was living out of his car and working as a dishwasher to save up money for a new apartment. 

He was found naked and beaten in a dumpster. He died 12 hours later at Grant Medical Center in Columbus. Ferman, Trent, and Baxter allegedly robbed Fetty and beat him with boards and bricks before stuffing him into the dumpster and leaving him for dead.

Pike County Prosecutor Robert Junk called Fetty’s case one of the most gruesome he has ever seen.  He believes that Fetty’s sexuality may have played a role in the attack.

Trent was convicted on December 6th of involuntary manslaughter.  He is expected to testify against Baxter and Ferman. Baxter and Ferman, whose crime is now being called a hate crime by Junk, are facing the death penalty with two charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, tampering with evidence, and abduction.  Baxter’s trial is set to begin October 11th while Ferman’s will begin January 9, 2006.

Sources: NBC 4, “Homeless Man Found Beaten, Later Dies,” 10/4/04; Associated Press, “Three men charged with murder in beating of homeless man,” 10/5/04; NBC 4, “Men Charged In Homeless Man’s Death Won’t Face Death Penalty,” 10/15/04; Street Vibes, “Two men in Ohio have been indicted in the beating death of a homeless man,” November 2004; WXIX, “Homeless Man Killed,” 12/11/04; Chillicothe Gazette, “Baxter, Ferman arraigned again,” 12/11/04; AkronBeacon Journal, New charges in homeless slaying: Prosecutor says killing was hate crime because Ohio victim was gay,”12/13/03 New York Blade, “Two face hate-crime charges in beating death of homeless man,” 12/17/04; www.gaypeopleschronicles.com, “Trial dates set in killing of waverly deaf gay man,”3/25/05

NOVEMBER

Bradenton, Florida

Group of Men Beat a Sleeping Homeless Man

November 23: According to a police report from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, a group of men kicked and beat a sleeping homeless man around 1 a.m. Damon Morgan, the victim, told deputies the men stole his clothes, fifteen dollars, and a bicycle. Morgan’s left eye was cut.

Source:  Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “News Updates,” 11/23/04

Corpus Christi, Texas

Man Beaten With Belt Buckles

November: A homeless male, believed to be in his 60’s, was attacked and beaten by numerous assailants while he slept. The four assailants crept up on the man in the middle of the night and proceeded to whip him with a belt buckle. He sustained injuries on his back, as he was able to cover his face and head.

Source: Cynthia C. Contreras,Paralegal/Community Education Coordinator, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. 5/31/05

Fairfax County, Virginia

Homeless Man Robbed at Gunpoint

November 1: A 37-year-old homeless man was robbed at gunpoint. The man had accepted a ride to a pawnshop from the suspect, whom he had just met. After leaving the pawnshop, at which the suspect’s transaction was denied, he pointed a gun at the homeless man and tried to rob him. Upon seeing that the homeless man had no money, the suspect allowed the man to leave unharmed. The suspect was described as a 6” tall white male in his 40s with brown hair and brown eyes, weighing about 215 pounds.

Source: Fairfax County Police Department, 11/1/04

Key West, Florida

Homeless Man Critically Beaten

November 16: James Boyts, 52, was severely beaten early in the morning by William Willis, 18, and Jeffery Carbonell, 19.  Carbonell was charged with aggravated battery, while Willis was charged with aggravated battery, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Boyts suffered severe facial injuries after he was hit and kicked several times by Willis and Carbonell.  Bleeding heavily from head wounds, he was airlifted to Baptist Hospital in Miami where he was listed in critical condition.  Before that attack, Boyts had previously been harassed and had rocks thrown at him by two other men. Both Willis and Carbonell had blood on their shoes when police accosted them.

Sources: The Miami Herald, “Teens charged with beating homeless man” 11/17/04;

Key West Citizen, “Homeless beating victim stable after surgery,” 11/18/04

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rapists Target Homeless Youth

November 17: At least seven female transgender African American youths have reported being raped in Minneapolis in recent months.  Many of the victims are homeless.  Police have made no arrests.

Source: Bath Holger, The Bridge, 11/17/04