South Carolina Man Dies in Possible Hate Crime

Jim Burroway

May 18th, 2007

Sean William KennedySean William Kennedy, 20, of Greenville, South Carolina  died from injuries he suffered in a fight an assault outside of a gay bar early Wednesday morning. Sherrif deputies last night arrested Stephen Andrew Moller, 18, who is accused of punching Kennedy because Moller didn’t like Kennedy’s sexuality.

According to the sherrif’s department, as Sean was walking to his car from the bar early Wednesday morning, Moller got out of another car and walked towards Sean. Moller made some comments about Sean’s sexual orientation and punched him in the face.

The Greenville sherrif’s office is working with the FBI to determine whether to proceed with a hate crime investigation. If so, it would be for statistics purposes only. South Carolina does not have a hate crime law which covers sexual orientation.

Derrick Gunter

May 18th, 2007

Brew’s is NOT a gay bar. And this was not a fight. Sean was approached, punched, and fell down and hit his head.


May 18th, 2007

Derrick is correct. Brew’s is not a gay bar. Sean was approached by Moller and struck after Moller made a derogatory comment about my friend’s sexual orientation. South Carolina does not have legislation regarding hate crimes, however there is a federal law regarding hate crimes. The FBI handling the case because of that reason, and would not be for statistics purposes only. If it is determined to be a hate crime, Moller can face up to an additional 20 years in prison.

Jim Burroway

May 18th, 2007

First of all, please accept my condolences to you for what happened to Sean, and please convey them to his friends and family at this time of sorrow.

Currently, federal laws on hate crimes do not cover sexual orientation, except to direct the FBI to collect hate crime statistics. A bill has just passed the House of Representatives to change that, but it has not been taken up by the Senate yet. The White House has threatened to veto it.

Do you have a news source or some other source of information that I can link to for the additional 20 years in prison? I’m interested in how this would happen because right now, federal law that allows this on the basis of sexual orientation doesn’t exist yet according to all the information I can find. Is it possible that state law has changed and the info I have for South Carolina is not up to date?

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