The Daily Agenda for Sunday, April 28

Jim Burroway

April 28th, 2013

Events This Weekend: Purple Party, Dallas, TX; Rodeo in the Rock, Little Rock, AR; AIDS Walk, Miami, FL; Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Miami, FL; Philadelphia Black Pride, Philadelphia, PA; Tokyo Pride, Tokyo, Japan.

Gay Bar Bombed in Greenwich Village: 1990. A home-made pipe bomb exploded shortly after midnight early Saturday morning at Uncle Charlies, a popular video-bar in Greenwich Village. Damage to the building was described as minor, but at least three patrons were injured. One patron, Frizzell Green, said he was in the bar when the blast went off in a trash can, about five or six feet away from him. At first, police investigators told reporters that they didn’t consider the bombing to be bias-related. Gay rights activists disagreed, and organized a march on Saturday evening. Three to five hundred people gathered at Uncle Charlies and walked the ten blocks to the Sixth Precinct, blocking traffic and chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Homophobia has got to go!”

The bombing went unsolved for five years, until February 1995 when Federal prosecutors charged El Sayyid A. Nosair with the attack. Nosair, one of the leaders of a fundamentalist Islamic terrorist group, was already serving a prison sentence for assault and possession of an illegal firearm in connection with the murder of radical Jewish Rabbi Meir Kahane. Bizarrely, the jury acquitted him of murder, leaving the judge in December 1991 to sentence Nosair to 7â…“ to 22 years in prison, the maximum allowed by law. So when Federal officials charged him again in 1995 for bombing the gay bar, and for conspiring to blow up other New York landmarks, including the World Trade Center. He was found guilty of seditious conspiracy with other defendants, including the blind sheik, Omar Abdel Rahman, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. At last report, Nosair was serving his sentence at the federal Supermax facility in Florence, Colorado.

Ryan Skipper: 1981. Ryan would be celebrating his thirty-second birthday if Joseph Beardon and William Brown, Jr., hadn’t stabbed him more than 20 times, slit his throat, stole his car, left his body on a dark rural road in Wahneta, Florida, and bragged to friends that they killed him because he was “a faggot” on March 14, 2007. Jurors in Beardon and Brown’s trial were visibly shaken when they saw the autopsy photos. The coroner testified that it was the cut to the throat that killed him.The cut was 3.5 inches deep, tearing through skin, tissue, muscles and, more fatally, an artery. Ryan quickly bled to death within minutes. Bearden and Brown tried to clean the car so they could sell it. But it was too badly soaked with blood to be cleaned and they didn’t have a copy of the car’s title to sell it, so they abandoned it on a dock on Lake Pansy in Winter Haven and set it on fire. The flames only caused minor damage, and investigators were able to retrieve both of their fingerprints from the car.

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for Bearden, but jurors found him guilty of second-degree murder instead of first-degree murder as charged. He was also found guilty of theft of a motor vehicle, accessory after the fact, tampering with evidence, and dealing in stolen property. He was sentenced to life in prison. A few months later, Brown was found guilty of first degree murder, robbery, arson, and tampering with evidence. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the first degree murder conviction, another life term for the armed robbery with a deadly weapon, fifteen years for arson, and a five for tampering with evidence.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

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