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Name: M.J

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Day 27: Wanda Alston

Photo from the Wanda Alston Foundation

*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, violence, stabbing, knife attack, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


It was approaching noon on the 16th of March, 2005. Everyone in Washington, D.C was going about their day. Those who were at work were getting ready to go on lunch break. Some had packed a lunch and were going to eat in the office while others packed up their work and were getting ready to head out to a restaurant. Kids at schools were also getting ready for lunch which was their favourite time of the day. Everyone got a break from their jobs or school for roughly an hour and were able to relax or spend time with friends.

One woman was enjoying her day at home. On that particular day she didn’t have to worry about going to work until the afternoon. Her mornings were free but she liked to keep busy so often she would work from home. Her fiancée was at work and wasn’t expected to be home for another few hours so the woman was home alone.

After having a nice lunch, the woman just finished washing her dishes when she heard the doorbell ring. She put the last dish away before drying her hands and making her way over to the door. She had been expecting a package for a few days now and it seemed as if it had finally arrived. She peeked out the door and sure enough, there was her package. She opened the door and picked up the box just as the postal van was backing out of her driveway. Like the kind soul that she was, she waved to the driver who returned the friendly gesture before driving off. She smiled to herself at the positive interaction then went back inside and closed the door behind her.

She made her way back to the kitchen where she put the package on the counter. She retrieved a knife which she used to slice open the tape and opened it up. She retrieved the contents of the package and set it to the side while she disposed of the box.

Just as she finished, she heard a knock on her door. She thought it was a bit odd since she wasn’t expecting anyone. She assumed that a neighbour needed her help with something or perhaps a friend had paid her a surprise visit.

She went over to the door and peeked out the window. It was a neighbour but not one she was well acquainted with. Even so, she opened up the door to see if he needed help with anything. When she greeted him she noticed that he was acting odd. She knew why. She recognized his behaviour. It was the same behaviour she had experienced back when she was a cocaine user.

Worried, she asked the man what she could help him with. He said that he just wanted to borrow some money and he would be on his way. He promised to pay her back as soon as he could but she knew better. She wanted to help him but she knew that being a source of money for him wouldn’t do him any good. It would just teach him that he could ask her for money whenever he needed it. She politely declined but did say that she could help him find a rehab center and support group.

He grew agitated at the suggestion. He explained to her that the system already failed him. He couldn’t rely on getting help but she told him that she could. She worked with helping drug users and that she could help him but he didn’t believe it. That just seemed too good to be true and he wasn’t interested in sobriety. He just wanted some cash to pay for his next his so he asked her again, this time more forcefully. Again she said no and explained how she wanted to help but that wasn’t the way to go about it. He really needed to seek out a rehab facility. He couldn’t come to her for cash which she made very clear.

He quickly got angry when she refused to give him cash. He promised to repay her but she wouldn’t budge. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could take it. He had been on cocaine for days now and needed another hit. He was desperate for it. He couldn’t wait any longer for his next hit and he was going to do anything to get it. His addiction told him what he had to do in order to satisfy his need. It controlled him and he was powerless to stop it. He had no control over what happened next.

Since the woman couldn’t talk any sense into him, she decided that the best thing to do was leave the man be. She offered to help him but he refused. At least he would know where to get help when he was ready for it. She couldn’t force him to do anything and she didn’t know him well enough to keep trying to talk to him. The best thing she could do now was to say goodbye and leave him to his own devices.

She was just about to shut the door when the man slammed his hand on it and pushed back. He pleaded with her. He just needed a little bit of money and then he would be on his way. She shook her head and told him that he wasn’t thinking right. It was the addiction talking and that he needed to seek professional help. She couldn’t do anything for him but when he was ready she would help him find a support group. That was all.

She tried using more force to close the door but still the man pushed back. He was not about to take no for a final answer. He couldn’t. He really, really needed cash or anything he could sell. He wasn’t about to let this stop him. He couldn’t. He took a deep breath and with all of his strength, he pushed the door open.

The woman wasn’t expecting this so the force caused her to stumble backwards into her home. She looked up at the man who had forced his way in and was utterly shocked. She raised her voice at him. How dare he force his way into her own home. If he didn’t leave immediately, she told him she would have no choice but to call the police. This was breaking and entering and it was against the law but the man didn’t listen.

Adrenaline was coursing through his veins. He didn’t have control over himself anymore. The only thing he was thinking about was finding some cash so he could buy some more drugs. It was the only thing he cared about. He didn’t think about potential consequences of his actions. None of that mattered in the heat of the moment.

He pulled out a pocket knife that he always had on him and flicked it open. The woman saw it and began talking to him and attempted to defuse the situation before it got out of hand. She spoke in a calm voice so she didn’t aggravate him but it was too late for her. The man had already made up his mind.

He charged at her with the knife in hand and tackled her to the ground. The woman screamed as she fell to the ground. The man landed on top of her and began jabbing the knife at her. She managed to dodge the first few blows. She held out her arms and tried to grab the knife but the man was full of rage and adrenaline. He was nearly unstoppable.

He kept the knife away from her grasp while attempting to strike her. He did manage to get a few cuts on her arms and would have thought that would have been enough to stop her but it didn’t. He underestimated her. Even though he had caught her off guard, she jumped into defense mode quickly and did her best to fight him off. She tried to scratch his face or anywhere she could reach to try and slow him down but she missed. He was too quick.

He stabbed the knife in her chest. With the amount of force behind the stab, the blade nearly went all the way into her chest. The woman let out a gasp of surprise. She was stunned. The pain spread throughout her chest but she couldn’t let that stop her, not if she wanted to live. She had to do her best to ignore the pain and fight back.

The man pulled the blade out of her chest only to bring it back down again. It went deep again and blood spilled from the wound. With each new injury more blood spilled from the woman’s body. It poured onto the floor and the man’s hand. It made the knife slippery.

At one point, the handle even slipped from his grasp and that made him pause. That pause was just long enough for the woman to use what energy she had left to push the man off her. He stumbled at the surprise shove and fell to the floor. This allowed the woman to roll over on her front despite the massive amount of pain she was in.

She tried to crawl away from her attacker but he recovered quickly. He was back on his feet in no time and pounced once more on the woman. He stabbed her with even more force this time as rage consumed him. He stabbed her until she stopped screaming. He continued until she no longer made any noise and her body went limp.

When she grew quiet, he finally began to calm down. He stood up with the bloody knife in his hand and looked down at the woman. Soon realization set in. He had just killed someone. He stuffed the knife into his pocket and turned to leave. On the way, he saw the woman’s car keys and purse on a table. He grabbed them then ran out of the house as the woman bled out. She passed away on the floor shortly after.

Her name was Wanda Alston and she was 45 years old.

AFTERMATH

After Wanda’s death, the District police shut down the block with police tape for over six hours while they investigated the crime scene. During their investigation, the police took note of Wanda’s missing car along with her purse.

The following day, they got a tip from a witness who had claimed to have seen Wanda’s car. It was a 2000 Nissan Sentra and the witness said that they saw that exact car parked in a driveway only two doors away. They had claimed to have seen the man who lived in the home driving the car.

The police went to investigate and found the suspect a few blocks away from the house where Wanda’s car was discovered. There was a brief chase but the police managed to apprehend the suspect and took him into custody at around 3 P.M. During his arraignment, the suspect was denied bond.

He was found to be in the possession of not only Wanda’s car and keys but her credit cards too. He was a cocaine user and had been high on it for several days before the murder. He admitted to using the cards to buy gas for people’s cars in exchange for cash which he would then use to support his addiction.

The suspect was unemployed 38 year old William Parrot. He was charged with armed, first degree murder. He was sentenced to 24 years behind bars and must serve at least 20 before he can be considered for release.

IN LIFE

Wanda Alston was described by people as being a strong activist and woman, a fighter, and a vocal lesbian. When it came to her being a leader, she was admired by everyone in D.C’s LGBTQ+ community. Keith Boykin, the president of the National Black Justice Coalition said that "Wanda was one of the toughest, most determined people I have ever met in my life".

She was born in Newport News, Virginia in the year 1950. After high school she joined the Air Force and the military provided her a pathway for education and a better life.

In the early 80s she received her bachelor’s degree from Southeastern University before moving in with her brother in D.C in 1985.

In D.C she became addicted to cocaine but she was able to sober up in 1990. It is because of this addiction that she supported drug recovery programs in her area.

In the 90s, she was part of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and later became a part of its National Board of Directors.

In 1992 Wanda was the executive assistant to the president of NOW, Patricia Ireland. Later she became the special projects director.

In 1995 she was the co-loader of the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.

She helped to organize 4 national marches and Washington and 1 in San Francisco and even organized events for the Human Rights Campaign.

In 1998 Wanda helped found the National Stonewall Democrats.

In 1999 she joined the Williams administration as the liaison to the U.S Census Bureau. After she became the director of operations for the Office of Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice.

In 2001 she was named Williams special assistant for lesbian and gay affairs.

In 2004, Williams appointed her to a Cabinet-level position. She was a delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention and went to work on John Kerry's presidential campaign.

Before her death she was working on preparing for the mayor’s first LGBTQ+ summit which was scheduled for the 30th of April.

About a year prior to her death, Wanda met 37 year old Stacey Long who she proposed to a few months later. The two had planned to have a wedding ceremony in June.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. A Life Remembered”. Sean Bugg and Randy Shulman. Metro Weekly, 23 March 2005, https://www.metroweekly.com/2005/03/a-life-remembered/.

  2. Arrest Made in Alston Slaying”. Del Quentin Wilber, Allan Lengel and Clarence Williams. Washington Post, 17 March 2005, https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A43577-2005Mar17.html.

  3. Confessed killer of gay activist gets 24 years”. The Washington Times, 29 July 2005, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2005/jul/29/20050729-102058-9097r/.

  4. D.C.’s Gay Leader Stabbed to Death”. Stefen Styrsky. Gay City News, 30 March 2005, https://www.gaycitynews.com/d-c-s-gay-leader-stabbed-to-death/.

  5. Longtime gay rights activist Wanda Alston killed”. Advocate, 18 March 2005, https://www.advocate.com/news/2005/03/18/longtime-gay-rights-activist-wanda-alston-killed-15456.

  6. Man charged with killing gay rights activist Wanda Alston”. Advocate, 18 March 2005, https://www.advocate.com/news/2005/03/18/man-charged-killing-gay-rights-activist-wanda-alston-15466.

  7. Murder Rocks D.C. Community”. Bob Roehr. Windy City Times, 1 April 2005, http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Murder-Rocks-DC-Community/7840.html.

  8. Wanda Alston”. Wanda Alston Foundation, http://www.wandaalstonfoundation.org/wanda-alston-2/.

  9. Wanda R. Alston”. Daily Press, powered by Legacy, https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dailypress/obituary.aspx?n=wanda-r-alston&pid=3314127.

Image

  1. Wanda Alston. Wanda Alston Foundation, http://www.wandaalstonfoundation.org/wanda-alston-2/.

Day 25: Eudy Simelane

Photo from Friends of a Friend - Eudy Simelane on Facebook

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, violence, beating, stabbing, knife attack, sexual assault, rape, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


It was early in the morning of the 28th of April, 2008 in the township of KwaThema located in South Africa. It was still dark outside although it wouldn’t last much longer. In the next two hours or so the sun would begin to rise and would light up the world. At this hour, people were stumbling out of bars and laughing with their friends. They had spent most of the night out drinking and having fun but now it was time for them to return home however it was quieter than most nights. It was a Monday morning so the majority of people in the town were still at home and in bed. The only ones who were out drinking were people who were lucky enough to have the day off or students who just didn’t care.

One pub in the area was growing increasingly quiet as its customers began to leave for the night. Many of them were quite drunk and those who arrived with friends were leaning on each other for support. There were a few who were still a bit sober but they left the bar earlier than the drunken customers.

One customer was a young woman who was a bit tipsy but not drunk by any means. She was still capable of navigating the world around her and she wasn’t about to forget what happened during the night. Her head was still quite clear but she did have a little buzz. She paid for her drink then gathered up her belongings and made her way to the entrance of the pub.

She had arrived there earlier that night with her friends but eventually they all departed and left her to her own devices. She was fine with that. They had jobs they needed to get ready for and she wondered how they were going to get through after being out for most of the night. She smiled to herself as she suspected many cups of coffee would be involved.

As the young woman walked away from the pub, a small group of men approached her. She quickly did a head count and saw that there were four in total. They all looked to be her age if not a bit younger. They quickly surrounded her making her stop in her tracks. She looked at one who held himself like he was the leader and asked him what was going on. She had met him before but she would hardly call him a friend. He was more of an acquaintance.

He looked her right in the eye and seemed to be studying her. He could probably smell the slight alcohol coming from her and was trying to determine how drunk she was. She thought he was acting a bit odd but thought nothing of it. She gave him a polite smile while trying to ignore the three other men who seemed to be quickly growing closer. She wondered if they knew anything about one’s personal space.

When one got a bit too close for her liking she turned her head towards him and in a firm voice told him to step back because he was too close. It made her uncomfortable. That comment seemed to get to not just that one man but the entire group. The atmosphere suddenly grew tense between them and the men looked at the one who acted as the leader.

He crossed his arms across his chest and looked at the young woman. It appeared as if he was glaring daggers at her and wondered how to proceed with the situation. He gave it a thought for a moment then turned to his buddies and nodded. They nodded in return and this confused the young woman. She had no clue what this behaviour was about. Had they agreed to something before? Perhaps she was overthinking the situation. They probably had plans and just remembered them. They were probably just going. It made her relax and she was about to leave when one of the men grabbed her by the arm.

He shouted at her and asked her where she thought she was going. Confused, she turned to him and said that she thought they were done. She wanted to go back home and go to bed. She was tired and just wanted some sleep. The men chuckled at that and told her that she wasn’t going anywhere.

She was frightened now. She didn’t know any of them well enough to possibly guess what their intentions were. It frightened her. She tried to pull herself free from the man’s grasp but he wouldn’t let go. He had a strong grip on her arm which only tightened the more she struggled. She didn’t want to make a scene at first but now felt like she had no choice. She was afraid of what these men might do to her. This was no time to remain silent any longer.

She prepared to call out for help but the men were quick to figure out her plan. It was almost as if they anticipated this. It was like they planned this from start to finish and every possible outcome. Before she could let out a scream, one of the men covered her mouth with his hand while another got out a cloth which he tied around the lower half of her face. This prevented her from calling out for help. Even if she did manage to make any noise then it wouldn’t have been loud enough for anyone to hear her. There wasn’t much she could do now. All she could really do was try to fight them off but the men easily restrained her. She was helpless.

They managed to tie her hands up despite her attempts to fight them off and when she was properly restrained, one of the men picked her up and carried her off to another location while his buddies followed him. The woman’s legs remained free so she tried kicking him to get him to drop her but he didn’t. He ignored the kicking as if it didn’t even bother him. She tried kicking as hard as she could but still he didn’t react. She screamed despite the cloth that was tied around her mouth. She tried desperately to free herself but nothing worked.

A sense of dread filled her when they arrived at an open field. She didn’t know exactly what their plans or motives were but she had a good guess as to what they were. She knew that there was only one reason why a group of men would bring her to an isolated place such as the field. There was just one reason and it terrified her.

When the man set her down the cloth around her face loosened and fell around her neck. Now that he mouth was no longer covered she begged to be let go. She begged to be spared. She pleaded with them not to hurt her. The men surrounded her to keep her from running and they all smirked as she pleaded. They found it entertaining.

One of the men told the woman that they were going to have so much fun with her. Her eyes widened when he said that. She knew what he was referring to and that was the last thing she wanted. She screamed out when the men began grabbing her clothes and groping her. She tried backing away but there was nowhere to go.

She continued to plead with them but her pleas fell on deaf ears. They wanted to have their way with her and it seemed as if nothing was going to stop that. Tears streamed down her face when she realized that there was no stopping the men. All she could do was sit there and cry as her clothes were ripped from her body. She was forced to lie down on the ground and her limbs were pinned down by three men while the fourth forced himself on her.

She screamed at the top of her lungs. She begged him to let her go. She tried pulling her arms free. She did everything she could think of. The men simply laughed at her and said that by the end of this she would finally be a real woman. In the back of her mind she knew what they were referring to but she was so scared that she couldn’t even think about that. The only thing on her mind was somehow escaping and going to the police.

She wanted the men behind bars for what they were going to her. They were disgusting human beings if they could even be called that. They got off from the suffering of another person. They were enjoying it.

They were sick.

The young woman finally gave up after what felt like forever. The men saw it as a victory and continued all why the woman lay limp on the ground. Tears were pouring down her face and she tried her best to think of anything other than her present. Anything would have been better than what she was experiencing. She closed her eyes and tried to go to a better place. She prayed for death to come and take her. She wanted nothing more than for her suffering to end.

When they men were done they began talking about what to do with her. They didn’t want to let her go. One of them said that she would just go to the cops so if they wanted to get away with the crime then they would have to kill her. This snapped the woman back to reality. She began screaming again and begging to be let go. She promised not to go to the cops but the men didn’t believe her. They knew she would and by now they were getting very frustrated with all of the noise she was making.

One of the men pulled out a knife he had and a second did the same. Only two of them had knives so the other two stepped aside and watched the scene unfold. The two who possessed knives approached the young woman with wide grins on their faces. She screamed at the top of her lungs and tried to scramble away but they grabbed her and pinned her down. They brought the sharp blades down on her and each time a knife punctured her flesh, she screamed. She screamed so loud that she thought her throat would tear open.

The pain rippled through her body. Her tears soaked her neck and upper chest. The salty water soon mixed with her blood. She tried to fight them off for as long as she could but soon the pain became overwhelming. She couldn’t bear it. The pain spread all over her body and soon it weakened her to the point where all she could do was cry.

The tears continued to pour down her face until one man dealt the final blow. One last stab was all it took. He stabbed her and she stopped moving. Her body went stiff for a very brief moment but then relaxed. She was dead.

Her name was Eudy Simelane and she was just 31 years old.

AFTERMATH

After the murder, the killers dragged her body to a nearby drainage ditch where she was dumped. She was then found sometime later and identified.

Four men were arrested for the crime but only two were convicted while the other two were aquitted. One man, aged 24, was convicted and given a life sentence for murder, 20 years for being an accomplice to rape and 15 years for robbery. The second man was sentenced for 32 years in prison. The two men who were acquitted were 22 and 18 years old.

This case is said to have been the first conviction for the crime of “corrective rape”.

IN LIFE

Eudy Simelane was the first woman to live openly as a lesbian in the township of KwaThema. Ever since she was a child, she loved football (soccer).

As an adult she played as a midfielder for the Banyana Banyana national women’s team of South Africa then worked as a coach and referee. At the time, the team struggled as it didn’t have nearly as much respect as the men’s team and one player even said that her team would often play with worn-out shoes. When she worked as a referee, Eudy came out and became an LGBTQ+ activist.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. “Lesbians in South Africa: Raped for a Cure”. Queerty Staff. Queerty, 14 March 2009, https://www.queerty.com/lesbians-in-south-africa-raped-for-a-cure-20090314.

  2. “Life for killing lesbian activist”. News 24, 23 September 2009, https://www.news24.com/News24/Life-for-killing-lesbian-activist-20090923.

  3. “Life for man in rape and killing of lesbian South African footballer”. David Smith. The Guardian, 22 September 2009, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/sep/22/eudy-simelane-gangrape-and-murder.

  4. “Mother of slain lesbian footballer Eudy Simelane passes away”. Roberto Igual. Mamba Online, 17 April 2019, https://www.mambaonline.com/2019/04/17/mother-of-slain-lesbian-footballer-eudy-simelane-passes-away/.

  5. “Murder of a black lesbian soccer player”. Outsports Archives. Outsports, 15 May 2008, https://www.outsports.com/2008/5/15/4045688/murder-of-a-black-lesbian-soccer-player.

  6. “Raped and killed for being a lesbian: South Africa ignores 'corrective' attacks”. Annie Kelly. The Guardian, 12 March 2009, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/mar/12/eudy-simelane-corrective-rape-south-africa.

  7. “Raped for being gay: Scourge of South African sex attacks which men claim will 'cure' women of being lesbians”. Liz Hazelton. Daily Mail, 31 October 2011, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2055289/Corrective-rape-South-Africa-women-attcked-cure-lesbians.html.

  8. “Relief as lesbian's killer jailed”. BBC News, 23 September 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8270417.stm.

  9. “SHOCK AT MURDER OF EUDY SIMELANE”. Staff Writer. Mamba Online, 30 April 2008, https://www.mambaonline.com/2008/04/30/shock-at-murder-of-eudy-simelane/.

  10. “SOUTH AFRICA: STATEMENT BY PAULA ETTELBRICK ON THE KILLING OF FORMER BANYANA BANYANA SOCCER PLAYER EUDY SIMELANE”. OutRight Action International, 5 May 2008, https://outrightinternational.org/content/south-africa-statement-paula-ettelbrick-killing-former-banyana-banyana-soccer-player-eudy.

  11. “South African Soccer Star Eudy Simelane’s Accused Murders Will Finally Stand Trial”. Queerty Staff. Queerty, 26 August 2009, https://www.queerty.com/south-african-soccer-star-eudy-simelanes-accused-smurders-will-finally-stand-trial-20090826.

  12. “Three on trial for murder of gay football star”. Jonathan Clayton. Independant, 26 August 2009, https://www.independent.ie/world-news/africa/three-on-trial-for-murder-of-gay-football-star-26561131.html.

  13. “'We can finally forgive her killers' – Eudy Simelane's family”. News24 Correspondent. News 24, 13 April 2016, https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/we-can-finally-forgive-her-killers-eudy-simelanes-family-20160413.

  14. “1 of Eudy Simelane’s Killers Was Sentenced to Life. 2 Others Walked Free”. Queerty Staff. Queerty, 23 September 2009, https://www.queerty.com/1-of-eudy-simelanes-killers-was-sentenced-to-life-2-others-walked-free-20090923.

Image

  1. Eudy Simelane. Friends of a Friend - Eudy Simelane. Facebook, 12 March 2016, https://www.facebook.com/1564820093830984/photos/a.1565311407115186/1565311410448519/?type=3&theater.

Day 23: Pablo Fullana Borsato

Photo by María Farías

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, a knife, stabbing, knife attack, sexual assult, attempted rape, brutality, alleged homophobic attack, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


There has been no mention online as to what triggered the attack or the events that lead up to it. What is portrayed in this story was created on assumption based on the known facts published online.

It was a Saturday night on the 30th of November, 2019. Nightlife was booming in the town of Colón in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Young people were out in bars or nightclubs with friends or romantic partners and enjoying their time. They danced to the music with their arms up and a drink or two in their hands. In the more busier nightclubs or bars with the loudest music and brightest and colourful lights, people just about screamed in excitement and intoxication as they partied.

In one bar, one that was a bit quieter than most, a young man entered and took a seat at the bar. He ordered himself a drink and enjoyed the solitude. Before arriving at the bar, he had been with some friends and they had all gone bowling. It was fun but he was getting tired. He decided to have a quick drink at a bar before heading home and going to bed.

While he drank, another person entered the bar and sat down near the young man. He looked young, perhaps just at the legal age for drinking. He ordered himself a drink and sat in silence until he glanced over at the man sitting not too far away from him. He was busy watching the TV that was attached to the wall across from their seats but looked over at the young man when he sensed his eyes on him.

The young man was shocked that the man had looked at him and quickly looked away. He tried to pretend that nothing had happened and tensed up when the man came and sat next to him. He introduced himself politely and started a conversation with the young man. He was shy at first but quickly opened up and they began chatting.

After some time, the two had gotten to know each other and moved from the bar to the nearby pool table. They challenged each other to a game and had fun. During the game they sipped on some sparkling wine and got into the competitive spirit.

When the game was over and they both had their fair share of drinks, the young man who was in his 30s invited the younger one back to his house. He said that it wasn’t too far away. They both had quite a bit to drink so he offered the younger one a place to stay for the night where he could sleep off the alcohol. The younger one accepted so they paid for their drinks and left the bar.

They made their way to the older man’s house where he set up his new friend in the guest bedroom. He made sure that he had everything he needed and showed him where the bathroom and towels were. He told him he could use whatever he wanted and to help himself to anything in the fridge if he needed. He even made sure to leave headache pills and a glass of water on the nightstand should the younger man need them. The younger of the two thanked his host and crawled into the bed. It felt so good to curl up under the covers in the nice, warm and soft bed. He fell asleep almost instantly.

The other young man, the owner of the house and host of the younger one went to his room after making sure his new friend was comfortable and had everything he needed. He had drank a bit more alcohol than his friend so he was feeling it more. He was sure he was going to have a decent hangover the next morning but he didn’t have any big plans so it wasn’t that big of a deal. It wouldn’t be nice but at least it would interfere with his day. He would just relax the next day until he felt better.

~ 🏳️‍🌈 ~

The next morning the younger man had gotten up first. He wasn’t as affected by the alcohol as his host was so he didn’t have as strong symptoms. He got out of bed just fine and went to the bathroom to freshen up. When he made his way back to his room, he noticed his host had gotten up and was in the kitchen.

He went over to him to thank him for the hospitality. He approached the other and greeted him with a friendly good morning and polite smile. The home owner turned to face and responded very much the same. He had a bottle of headache pills in his hand and in the other, an empty glass. He filled it up in the sink then set it on the counter so he could open the bottle.

While he was doing that, his guest watched him. He had his mind on something. He was thinking hard about something and as the cogs in his brain turned, he focused on his host. He watched every little movement carefully. He was almost like a predator observing his prey. Just like the other night, the young man and homeowner sensed the other’s eyes on him and turned to face his new friend. He gave him a little friendly smile then prepared to take the pills.

That smile set something off in the 18 year old. Something surged deep inside him and he wasn’t sure what. He had felt this sort of thing before but this time it was different. It wasn’t like the previous times. It bothered him and like all of the other times, he acted out on it.

He rushed towards his new friend and host and slapped the pills and glass out of his hands. They fell to the floor with the glass bouncing off the ground but not breaking and the water spilling all over. The homeowner was stunned at this and asked what on earth had gotten into the other’s mind but before he could even finish speaking he was shoved to the ground. He landed with a thud and grunted. He didn’t have the wind knocked out of him but it felt that way due to the force of the impact.

He looked up at his guest who was now on top of him and pinning him to the floor. He struggled against him but because he had been surprised, his opponent had the upper hand. He pushed up his t-shirt and tugged at his pants and underwear. The older man fought him off the best he could and yelled at him repeatedly to stop. He told him that what he was doing was not only inappropriate but also unwanted and that he would call the cops.

The threat of the cops being called angered and panicked the younger man. He managed to rip off both the older man’s pants and underwear and threw them off to the side. He had planned on removing his pants but the older man managed to shove him off. He kicked him for good measure and ran away. He didn’t even bother trying to reach for his clothes. That would have just wasted his time. He had to get away and fast.

He ran to the living room where he tried to grab the phone but his attacker was quick. He grabbed the other man before he could reach the phone and pulled him down towards the floor. He stumbled as he tried to regain his balance and tried to shake the other man off. It didn’t do much good as he had a secure grip on him.

The older man frantically looked around the room as he looked for something that he could use to defend himself with. To his relief, he saw an empty champagne bottle nearby. It had been left over from a get together he recently had with some friends. He had been thankful that he didn’t throw it out. It was in his reach so he grabbed it and threw it at his attacker but unfortunately it missed. However it did surprise the other man and that was enough for him to let go of his victim.

While it did offer a chance of escape, it also severely angered the attacker. Once he got over the shock of the surprise attack he looked at the other man and glared at him. He told him that he was going to pay for that. He punched him to make sure he stayed down then went over to the kitchen. There, he found a victorinox knife laying on the counter. He picked it up with a smirk and went over to the other man. He was just recovering from the punch when the other approached him. He looked up and his eyes widened with horror when he saw what the other man had in his hand.

He tried backing away but his back hit the sofa and blocked him from escaping. He held out his arms in an attempt to protect himself but it did little good against a sharp kitchen knife. The young man brought it down over and over again on the older man and didn’t stop. He kept stabbing him wherever he could.

How dare this man refuse him. How dare this man fight back against him. How dare he threaten to call the cops. It was wrong of him and he had to be punished so that was what he was going to do.

The knife cut every bit of skin it came in contact with. Blood spilled from all of the wounds. It dripped to the floor forming little puddles that got bigger with every new wound.

When the older man could no longer hold up his arms to defend himself, his attacker saw that as a victory. He now had access to his chest which he stabbed as many times as he could. He plunged the knife in and forced it as deep as it could go before pulling it out and stabbing again in another spot.

Eventually the man’s chest was covered in stab wounds. There appeared to be no place that had been spared of wounds. He slouched against the sofa and with no fight or energy left, he fell to the ground but he wasn’t dead just yet. Somehow he had managed to hold on. That wouldn’t do for the attacker. He wasn’t going to stop until this man was dead. He gripped the knife with his bloody hand and plunged it into the other man’s back.

It was getting harder to hold now due to the blood but it didn’t stop him. Nothing could stop him now. He was in a frenzied state and nothing could snap him out of it now. Not until the adrenaline had worn off. When it did, he took a deep breath and stumbled a bit as he slowly backed away. He looked down at the sight before him.

The body of the man he had met the other night was lying on the ground covered and surrounded in blood. He was completely still. His chest didn’t even rise meaning that he was no longer breathing. He was dead. The young man didn’t know at what point the man had died but he had.

He stared at the body for a little while to see if he really was dead or not. When he was confident that he was he knew that he had to leave. He wasn’t sure if anyone had heard or seen through the windows what had happened. He couldn’t risk the police showing up with him still in the house.

He dropped the knife on the kitchen counter and quickly washed the blood off his hands. Afterwards, he grabbed the broken champagne bottle and shoved it in his bag. After collecting his belongings he ran out of the house and left the body of the homeowner on the ground. The man had died in a violent manner from a seemingly unprompted attack.

His name was Pablo Fullana Borsato and he was just 36 years old.

AFTERMATH

Pablo’s cousin was the one who had found the body. His cousin had tried multiple times to call him throughout the day but received no response. He grew worried with each call that got no response so in the afternoon they made their way to Pablo’s house to check up on him. There they found the body of their cousin covered in blood on the living room floor partially naked. They called the police to report the murder

Pablo had around 60 to 70 stab wounds and the cause of his death was a traumatic cardiac arrest due to the amount of stab wounds to the chest and all of the organs inside such as the heart and lungs.

After the murder, the killer, 18 year old Leonel Fazio left the crime scene and made his way to his mother’s home. It was around 8:30 in the morning when he banged on the window and looked in. He told his mother that he had just killed someone. He was covered in blood and asking her to let him in and provide him a change of clothes. His mother screamed when she saw him which woke up her daughters and the neighbours. Despite it being her son, she didn’t open the door or respond to him. At first, his mother didn’t want to believe what she was hearing. She didn’t want to believe that he had killed someone. She thought that perhaps the blood had come from a cow or pig since he had stolen and killed them in the past.

At around 9 A.M, Leonel had spent around 30 minutes at his mother’s house. She refused to see him so he gave up and went to his sister’s house to seek aid. Like their mother, she too refused to let him in or speak with him.

He had not been allowed to live with either his sister or mother for the past year before the murder. He had been violent, stole and broke things when he didn’t get his way.

When he didn’t get help from either his mother or sister, he left and made his way to the Miter neighborhood, about three blocks away from the murder scene. It was around 9:30 in the morning the 18 year old had exposed himself to an 81 year old woman and attempted to sexually assault her near a bank. Luckily, a person nearby had seen what happened and managed to intervene before he had the chance to do so. During the intervention, the teenager said "I am not afraid of you, I just came from killing one" to the neighbour who had stopped him from attacking the elderly woman.

The police were called to the location and arrested the 18 year old. When the police arrested the 18 year old they noticed blood on his clothing and shoes. They investigated this and found that the pattern on the soles of his sneakers were very similar to footprints left at the crime scene. Upon examining the contents of his bag, they found a broken champagne bottle that resembled the pieces of broken glass at the crime scene.

Leonel Fazio has not yet been convicted and the state of his mentality is being tested. He is well known for being a danger to others as he has a long list of previous offences.

His mother had said that she tried to get help for him because at an early age he showed signs of not being quite right. She wanted him to see a psychologist to see what could be done about his unusual behaviour but no one got in touch with her. Had he received the proper treatment, it is entirely possible that Pablo’s murder could have been avoided.

She also believes that her son could be gay. She says it is a mother’s instinct and that she suspects it after everything she had seen and heard on the topic.

IN LIFE

Pablo was a 37 year old architect and well known member of the LGBTQ+ community. He was part of the first LGBTQ+ group in the city of Colón called the LGBT Colón Collective. This group is responsible for the organization of the first pride march in the town.

Pablo’s friends have said that Pablo was “comprometido fuertemente con la construcción una sociedad basada en la justicia social y la generación de oportunidades para todas, todes y todos” (Translation by me: strongly committed with the construction of a society based on social justice and a generation of opportunities for everyone)*.

He was also the creator of the Open Air Museum or “Museo a Cielo abierto”. This project was to take the Municipal Lake of Colón and turn it into an artistic space in support of both equality and diversity.

(*The reason I included the original Spanish text was to show you the gender inclusive vocabulary oftodas, todes y todos”.)

SOURCES

Articles

  1. “Asesinan de 60 puñaladas a activista LGBT Pablo Fullana Borsato en Buenos Aires”. La Nación. Mundo, 3 December 2019, https://www.elpais.com.uy/mundo/asesinan-punaladas-activista-lgbt-pablo-fullana-borsato-buenos-aires.html.

  2. “Asesinan de 60 puñaladas a un activista LGBTQ en Argentina”. Esteban Guzmán. Los Angeles Blade, 3 December 2019, https://www.losangelesblade.com/2019/12/07/asesinan-de-60-punaladas-a-un-activista-lgbtq-en-argentina/.

  3. “Asesinan de 60 puñaladas a un arquitecto y militante por la diversidad de género”. La Vanguardia, 3 December 2019, https://www.lavanguardia.com/sucesos/20191203/472039673758/asesinan-60-punaladas-arquitecto-militante-diversidad-genero-pablo-fullana.html.

  4. “Asesinan de 60 puñaladas al arquitecto y activista LGBT Pablo Fullana Borsato”. Desde Crespo, 3 December 2019, https://www.desdecrespo.com.ar/index.php/2019/12/03/asesinan-de-60-punaladas-al-arquitecto-y-activista-lgbt-pablo-fullana-borsato/.

  5. “Asesinaron a puñaladas a un activista gay en Colón”. Alejandra Zani. Presents, 4 December 2019, https://agenciapresentes.org/2019/12/04/asesinaron-a-punaladas-a-un-activista-gay-en-colon/.

  6. “Body of architect and LGBTQ activist found dead in brutal stabbing”. Buenos Aires Times, 3 December 2019, https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/body-of-architect-and-lgbtq-activist-found-dead-in-brutal-stabbing.phtml.

  7. “Colón: a Pablo Fullana Borsato lo asesinaron de 70 navajazos en el tórax, espalda y cuello”. Agencia NOVA, 4 December 2019, http://www.agencianova.com.ar/nota.asp?n=2019_12_4&id=80884&id_tiponota=24.

  8. “Colón: asesinan de 60 puñaladas al arquitecto y activista LGBT Pablo Fullana Borsato”. Diario Primera Línea, 5 December 2019, https://diarioprimeralinea.com.ar/colon-asesinan-de-60-punaladas-al-arquitecto-y-activista-lgbt-pablo-fullana-borsato/.

  9. “Colón: El asesino aplicó setenta puñaladas a la víctima”. El faro, 2 December 2019, http://colonbuenosaires.com.ar/elfaro/colon-el-asesino-aplico-setenta-punaladas-a-la-victima/.

  10. “Conmoción en Colón por el asesinato de un joven arquitecto militante de la comunidad LGTB”. Rojas Ciudad, 3 December 2019, http://www.rojasciudad.net/nota.asp?id=82692&t=Conmocion-en-Colon-por-el-asesinato-de-un-joven-arquitecto-militante-de-la-comunidad-LGTB.

  11. “El crimen del arquitecto: quién es “Leo”, el asesino de las 60 puñaladas denunciado hasta por su familia”. Javier Firpo. Clarín, 3 December 2019, https://www.clarin.com/policiales/crimen-arquitecto-leo-asesino-60-punaladas-denunciado-familia_0_m-7UDWEA.html.

  12. “Escalofriantes detalles del activista LGBT asesinado a puñaladas”. Minuto24. Minuto Rioja, 3 December 2019, https://www.minutorioja.com.ar/policiales/2019/12/03/escalofriantes-detalles-del-activista-lgbt-asesinado-a-punaladas-20778.

  13. “"Incontrolable": el violento pasado de Leo, acusado de matar de 60 navajazos al arquitecto”. Redacción LA. Los Andes, 4 December 2019, https://www.losandes.com.ar/article/view/?slug=incontrolable-la-cruda-historia-de-leo-acusado-de-matar-de-60-navajazos-al-arquitecto.

  14. ““Mami maté a un tipo”, le dijo el detenido por el crimen del arquitecto de Colón a su mamá”. Será Justicia. 4 December 2019, https://www.serajusticia.net/mami-mate-a-un-tipo-le-dijo-el-detenido-por-el-crimen-del-arquitecto-de-colon-a-su-mama/.

  15. “Marchan y reclaman justicia por el asesinato de Pablo Fullana Borsato”. La Izquierda Diario, 4 December 2019, https://www.laizquierdadiario.com/Marchan-y-reclaman-justicia-por-el-asesinato-de-Pablo-Fullana-Borsato.

  16. “Muere el activista LGBT argentino Pablo Fullana Borsato”. Stefano Carbone. Blasting News, 7 December 2019, https://es.blastingnews.com/internacionales/2019/12/muere-el-activista-lgbt-argentino-pablo-fullana-borsato-003029524.html.

  17. “Quién es “Leo”, el sospechoso de asesinar a un arquitecto de Buenos Aires militante LGBTI”. La Voz, 4 December 2019, https://www.lavoz.com.ar/sucesos/quien-es-leo-sospechoso-de-asesinar-a-un-arquitecto-de-buenos-aires-militante-lgbti.

  18. “Un arquitecto y activista LGTBI fue asesinado de 60 puñaladas en Colón”. Soy Buenos Aires, 3 December 2019, https://www.buenosaires.soy/policiales/un-arquitecto-activista-lgtbi-fue-asesinado-60-punaladas-colon-n82018.

Image

  1. Pablo Fullana Borsato. María Farías. Facebook, 26 September 2019, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10162222136495459&set=a.10150269251055459&type=3&theater.

Day 20: Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien

Photo from NBC News

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, stabbing, knife attack, beating, hammer attack, brutality, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


This story was written using articles that spoke of the husband’s point of view. This is not a reflection of how Christa actually behaved or treated others.

It was a normal day in North Adams, Massachusetts on the 5th of January, 2018. The residents went about their normal lives with going to school or going to work. Towards the evening, people made their way home and began dinner preparations. When the hour began to approach 8 P.M, many residents of Veazie Street were preparing for bed. All leftover food had been put away and all of the dishes were loaded into the dishwashers to be cleaned overnight.

One household on Veazie Street had two residents who went about their night-time routine as they prepared for bed. They had cleaned up after dinner a little over an hour and during this time they had been relaxing in the living room and watching TV. Now it was getting late in the evening so they decided to call it a day. They were tired and just wanted to go to sleep.

It was way too hot upstairs so the couple decided to blow up their air mattress and sleep downstairs for the night. They would deal with the temperature issue in the morning. It was too late for them to think of a solution. The best place they decided to set up was in the living room as it had the right amount of space for the mattress.

Once the air mattress was blown up, the couple put a fitted sheet on it, their pillows from upstairs that already had pillow cases on then lastly a thin sheet. It was still a bit warm downstairs so they didn't want to use a thick blanket. The last thing they wanted was to overheat.

The couple got changed into their pajamas, said good night to each other then laid down and tried to fall asleep. The heat made it a bit difficult but at least it wasn't unbearable like the temperature upstairs. When they were preparing for bed upstairs they could feel the heat and it was quite uncomfortable. Moving around didn't help but even when they were standing still, the two could feel the sweat forming all over their bodies. It was gross. Tomorrow they would definitely think of a way to fix the temperature because they knew they couldn't sleep on the mattress permanently.

The woman seemed fine on the mattress. She got comfortable and tried to sleep but found it difficult. It wasn't just because of the heat but also because of her husband. He kept tossing and turning which caused her to bounce around on the mattress. It didn't bother her at first as she understood how uncomfortable it was but as time went on it became an annoyance. On a regular mattress she wouldn't have bounced around as much.

Some time after she turned to face her husband and kindly asked him to stop. She explained how she couldn't sleep with him moving around so much. He apologized and promised to try and stay still. She thanked him then laid down once more and tried again to fall asleep. At first, all seemed to be fine but when her husband thought that she had fallen asleep he began to toss and turn again.

She was still awake due to the heat and sighed in annoyance when she was bounced around on the mattress. Her husband moved around too much for her liking and made it impossible for her to sleep. Once again she asked him to stop moving but this time he protested. He said that it was difficult for him to fall asleep and that he couldn't help it. His wife explained how it was hard for her too but she was being considerate and did her best to remain as still as possible. She said how she was doing it for him and that he should try considering her feelings too.

Her husband claimed that he was and that he always considered her feelings but that particular night was challenging for him. He just couldn't get comfortable no matter what he did. His wife said that if he stayed in place for more than two seconds then perhaps he would find a comfortable position. Her comment irritated him. He said that he couldn’t stay still because the temperature was just too uncomfortable and that the air mattress didn’t help.

His wife sighed and shook her head. She muttered to herself how inconsiderate her husband was then told him that if she could stay still then so could he. That comment made something shift in him. It got to him. He felt more than an annoyance but it wasn’t quite rage. He couldn’t explain it. He just knew that he really didn’t like the way she was speaking to him. She just dismissed how he felt. It wasn’t fair. To him, she had done it so many times in that past that he was just sick of it. She always did this and he wanted her to stop.

Fed up, he pushed the sheet aside and got up from the mattress. His wife looked up at him and asked him where he was going. This only fueled his anger and he grumpily told her that he was going to the bathroom, not that it was any of her business. She couldn’t believe his attitude but was too tired to deal with him. She just rolled her eyes and turned back over in bed. Now that her husband wasn’t moving around, she had an easier time drifting off. Her eyes grew heavy and she could feel sleep beginning to consume her. Hopefully she would nod off before her husband returned.

He returned a short while later and it sounded as if he had gone to the basement. That was a bit odd but the woman didn’t think much of it. She assumed that her husband had forgotten something down there or just went down to try and cool off.

When he returned to the living room, the man approached the mattress and at first, his wife thought he was about to get back into bed but she never felt a dip in the mattress. Instead, her husband’s footsteps stopped just at the edge of the mattress. She thought nothing of it. Maybe he was looking at something outside of the window or thinking about grabbing a snack. She continued to lie there with her eyes closed but she was jerked awake at a sudden and intense pain located on her head.

She screamed and sat up in bed. She looked up at her husband but due to the darkness, all she could see was his silhouette. In one hand she saw something that looked like a hammer. They had one in the basement. Her eyes widened in terror when she realized what was going on. He had gone to the basement to retrieve the hammer and the pain she felt was caused when the hammer was brought down on her.

She scrambled to get off the mattress and get away from her husband but he was quick. He brought the hammer back down on her head. Each hit caused even more pain than the last. Her head was pounding from the pain and she felt dizzy. It felt like she had the world’s worst migraine.

She pleaded with her husband to stop. She asked why he was doing this. What had she done to deserve this? What caused him to attack? He didn’t respond at first but eventually said that he had enough of her belittling him. He was sick and tired of it and wanted her to stop. He told her that he felt like he had no choice and that she had to shut up.

He continued beating her and she continued to try and escape despite the pain. Her instinct told her to run but all she could do was slowly crawl along the floor. She cried out with each blow.

Her husband tried to aim for her head to give her a quick death but some missed and hit her torso. When he saw that the hammer didn’t work in killing her, he hit her once more on the head then left the living room and went to the kitchen. He slightly stumbled in the dark but didn’t turn the light on. He wasn’t sure how much strength his wife still had so he didn’t want to make it easy for her to escape by turning on the lights.

In the kitchen, he went over to where they kept the knife and pulled out the biggest one he could find. The moonlight provided just enough light to find it and once he picked it up, he made his way back to the living room. His wife was still trying to crawl away and when he approached her, she weakly lifted her head and once again, begged him to spare her. Her husband said nothing and began to stab her.

She cried out in pain when she felt the blade of the knife pierce her back. She felt her blood gush from the wound when the blade was pulled from her. She pleaded with her husband. Begged for her life. She promised that she wouldn’t press charges on him if he spared her but nothing stopped him. He wasn’t about to stop. Not until she was dead.

He stabbed her again, this time he used so much force that the knife stuck in her back. He found it difficult to pull out so he left it. She was on the brink of death but still alive so he picked up the hammer and began hitting her head again. He continued until her body went limp. He was convinced that she was now dead. The screaming had stopped and it didn’t appear as if she was breathing anymore.

Her name was Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien and she was 42 years old.

AFTERMATH

After killing Christa, 47 year old Mark Steele-Knudslien had taken a shower and cleaned the blood off himself. Afterwards he went to a nearby liquor store and bought some alcohol. Upon returning home he attempted to clean up the crime scene.

He gathered some tarp which he wrapped around Christa and the murder weapons. He then set to work trying to clean up the blood with paper towels. He moved the tarp to the basement then left the home once more.

This time he traveled south to the Adams police station. Articles said that Mark walked into the station at around 9:09 P.M on Friday the 5th of January, 2018. He asked to speak with an officer and one went to talk to him. Mark told the officer that he had “done something bad” and that he “should be put in handcuffs”. He explained how he killed his wife.

At 9:02 P.M the Adams police contacted the North Adams Police and informed them of the homicide that occurred at 107 Veazie Street. 25 minutes later at 9:27, police arrived on scene and stayed there for the rest of the night.

The Adams Police Department held Mark Steele-Knudslien overnight and the next morning on Saturday the 6th of January, he was taken to Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction where he was held without bail.

On Monday the 7th of January, Mark was arraigned on one count of first-degree murder where he pleaded not guilty.

On Thursday the 16th of January, 2020 Mark Steele-Knudslien pleaded guilty to the murder of his wife Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien.He was sentenced by Judge John Agostini to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 25 years.

IN LIFE

Christa was the founder of the Miss Trans America Pageant, the founder and CEO of the Miss Trans New England Pageant and helped to organize New England’s first Trans Pride march in 2008. She was very active in the trans community when it came to activism.

One of her friends, Justin Adkins had told the Associated Press that “[Christa’s] thing was always that transgender women are beautiful and need a venue for trans women to be seen as beautiful”.

She is believed to have been the first transgender person to have been killed in the year 2018. Before she died, she posted on Facebook: “My husband and I are going to try to work things out” in 2017 which hinted at troubles in their relationship.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien is the First Known Transgender Woman Killed in 2018”. HRC staff. Human Rights Campaign, 8 January 2018, https://www.hrc.org/blog/christa-leigh-steele-knudslien-is-the-first-known-transgender-woman-killed.

  2. Founder of Miss Trans America pageant is 'stabbed and beaten to death by her husband inside her Massachusetts home after he snapped'”. The Associated Press. Daily Mail, 8 January 2018, updated 24 January 2020, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5248387/Husband-charged-killing-transgender-pageant-founder.html.

  3. HE 'SNAPPED': Miss Trans America Pageant founder allegedly murdered by husband”. Radar Online. Calgary Herald, 10 January 2018, https://calgaryherald.com/news/crime/he-snapped-miss-trans-america-pageant-founder-allegedly-murdered-by-husband.

  4. Husband charged with grisly killing of transgender pageant founder”. John Paul Brammer. NBC News, 12 January 2018, https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/husband-charged-grisly-killing-transgender-pageant-founder-n836066.

  5. Husband of transgender activist Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien admits to her murder; sentenced to life in prison”. Patrick Johnson. MassLive, 23 January 2020, https://www.masslive.com/police-fire/2020/01/husband-of-transgender-activist-christa-leigh-steele-knudslien-admits-to-her-murder-sentenced-to-life-in-prison.html.

  6. Husband sentenced to life in prison for killing transgender wife in North Adams”. Nancy Asiamah. WWLP-22News, 23 January 2020, updated 24 January 2020, https://www.wwlp.com/news/local-news/berkshire-county/husband-sentenced-to-life-in-prison-for-killing-transgender-wife-in-north-adams/.

  7. Husband told police he 'snapped' before killing Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, founder of Miss Trans America”. Dan Glaun. MassLive, 8 January 2018, updated 30 January 2019, https://www.masslive.com/news/2018/01/husband_told_police_he_snapped.html.

  8. Massachusetts man admits to killing wife, a prominent transgender activist, by stabbing, hitting her with hammer”. Muri Assunção. New York Daily News, 24 January 2020, https://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/ny-husband-trans-activist-christa-steele-knudslien-admits-killing-jail-20200124-dav72nqznnezrd5urxn3aot2j4-story.html.

  9. Miss Trans America founder beaten, stabbed to death in her home”. The Associated Press. CBS News, 10 January 2018, updated 11 January 2018, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/miss-trans-america-founder-beaten-stabbed-to-death-in-her-home/.

  10. Miss Trans America Founder Is The First Known Transgender Person Killed This Year”. Curtis M. Wong. Huffington Post, 9 January 2018, updated 12 January 2018, https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/christa-leigh-steele-knudslien-transgender-murder_n_5a5543a0e4b0d614e48a9f39?ri18n=true.

  11. Miss Trans America founder murdered at home – husband arrested”. David Hudson. Gay Star News, 8 January 2018, https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/steele-knudslien-trans-murder/.

  12. Miss Trans America founder’s husband charged with her murder”. Mariah Cooper. Los Angeles Blade, 9 January 2018, https://www.losangelesblade.com/2018/01/09/miss-trans-america-founders-husband-charged-murder/.

  13. North Adams man admits killing wife, gets life sentence”. Bob Dunn. Daily Hampshire Gazette, 23 January 2020, https://www.gazettenet.com/Mark-Knudslien-sentenced-32202116.

  14. North Adams man held after allegedly killing his wife”. Haven Orecchio-Egresitz. The Berkshire Eagle, 6 January 2018, https://www.berkshireeagle.com/stories/north-adams-man-held-after-allegedly-killing-his-wife,528865.

  15. Number 1- Rest In Power, Christa”. Monica Roberts. Blogspot, 6 January 2018, https://transgriot.blogspot.com/2018/01/number-1-rest-in-power-christa.html.

  16. The death of a North Adams woman has been ruled a homicide”. Frederick A. Lantz. Mass.gov, 7 January 2018, https://www.mass.gov/news/the-death-of-a-north-adams-woman-has-been-ruled-a-homicide.

  17. Woman who founded trans beauty pageants becomes first known trans person killed in America this year”. Emily Shugerman. Independent, 10 January 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/transgender-woman-killed-first-2018-christa-leigh-steele-knudslien-beauty-pageants-a8152226.html.

Images

  1. Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien. NBC News, https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/husband-charged-grisly-killing-transgender-pageant-founder-n836066.

Day 13: Joe Rose

Photo from the Montreal Gazette

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, violence, beating, stabbing, knife attack, homophobic slurs, homophobic hate crime, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


This story happened quite a while ago and all of the articles concerning it when it first came out have not been published online.

On the night of the 18th of March, 1989 a young man was getting ready to head out for the night with friends. He picked his clothes carefully so he would fit in with the nightlife at a dance club and styled his bright pink hair. He couldn’t wait to meet up with his friends and have fun. All of them had been excited ever since they planned the night out.

After he got ready, he went to see his younger brother who was in another room. He asked the 20 year old if he wanted to join him and his friends for a fun night out but his brother politely refused. He said that he would love to but he was in a band and they had a gig which he had to attend. His brother was understanding and wished his younger brother luck. His brother also wished him luck and hoped that he and his friends would have a good time. He said that next time he would join them. The two waved before the older brother left the house and walked to the nearest bus station.

He waited for a few minutes before the next bus arrived and hopped on. When the bus grew closer to his stop he pressed the button to signal for the driver to pull over which he did and let the young man off at his desired stop. From there it was a short walk to the nightclub where his friends were already outside and waiting for him. They all greeted each other with smiles and hugs then proceeded to enter the building.

Inside loud music was blasting that felt like it shook the walls. All around bright lights filled the room and moved in time with the music. The group of friends quickly made their way to an empty spot where they began to dance together. At one point, one went over to the bar and ordered some drinks which they brought back to their friends. This continued well into the night.

When the night began to turn into day, many of the partygoers began to leave the club. Many of them had been there for countless hours. It was time they went home and slept off the alcohol. The group of friends went their separate ways after leaving the club except for two. The young man with the bright pink hair had invited one of his friends to stay the night at his place since it was closer. He didn’t want his friend to make his way home by himself at such a late hour.

The young man and his friend made their way to the Atwater metro station and went to a bus stop where they could get on the 358 bus. They didn’t have to wait long and soon a bus heading east arrived. The bus driver stopped to let them on and when they paid they went to sit down. Due to the late hour they had their pick on where they wanted to sit. They had been the only ones on the bus at the time but about halfway through their journey the bus stopped again and this time let on a group of four teenagers.

The two friends didn’t even bother to look up at the group of teenagers as they entered the bus. They just talked amongst each other and just as the bus began to drive away, the teenagers decided to cause some trouble. Together, all four of them made their way over to the two friends and targeted the one with the bright pink hair. They began taunting him and called him a faggot.

At first, the two friends tried to ignore the teens. They didn’t want to engage and encourage them but their silence did the exact opposite. The teens continued to taunt and harass him and when they didn’t get the reaction they wanted, they took it a step further. One of the teenagers tried to get the attention of the young man by calling him a faggot once more and when he finally looked up, the teenager brought his fist down on his face.

The young man was so shocked and the punch was so unexpected that he didn’t have any time to defend himself. The force of the punch sent him to the floor of the bus and the teenager’s three friends quickly circled him. The man’s friend tried to intervene but the group shoved him aside so they could focus their attack on the pink haired man.

They had him completely surrounded and began kicking him. All of them began screaming at the young man who curled up in a ball in an attempt to protect himself from the blows. His friend sat on the ground shocked as he watched the attack. He wasn’t sure what to do. He didn’t know how he could have helped. There were four attackers against his friend and they were getting more and more violent as the minutes progressed.

He turned to the bus driver for help but he didn’t even glance in their direction. He just continued to drive the bus as if nothing was happening. The young man thought that either the bus driver was completely deaf or just a heartless individual who didn’t seem to care that one of his passengers was being attacked.

He got up from the ground and tried to call out to the bus driver for help but he didn’t even bat an eye. This angered one of the teens who then turned his attention on the young man. The last thing any of the teens wanted was for the bus to pull over and the cops to be involved.

The teen grabbed the young man and threw him against the seats. He felt pain in his back from the impact but it wasn’t a serious injury. He looked up at the teen who began to kick him repeatedly. When the teen noticed how he wasn’t fighting back and how he stopped saying anything he left him and went to join his group to continue the assault on the pink haired young man.

The young man was yelling at them, begging them to stop. He wanted to know why they were attacking him. One of the teens answered him and said that they were attacking him because he was a disguting faggot who didn’t deserve to live. He and people like him had no place in their society and therefore, deserved to be attacked. Anyone who looked as gay as he did deserved what was coming to them.

The words stung worse than any of the blows. The young man couldn’t understand how anyone could be so cruel to something who they didn’t even know. How could one person, let alone four hold so much hate to a single person? A person who was just on his way home and minding his own business. The two young men didn’t even look at the teens as they boarded the bus. What caused them to look at the two and think that they should attack them?

The young man attempted to stop them again but failed. They just found a new place to kick on his body. During the attack, one of them pulled out a pocket knife and flicked it open. Both friends froze. Their hearts stopped the moment they heard the flick as the blade was released.

The young man with the pink hair looked up at the attackers and all he could do was watch as the one wielding the knife plunged it into his flesh. He cried out as the pain rippled through the immediate area of the stab wound. The sharp blade separated his flesh and blood gushed from the wound. Tears streamed down his face and the teenagers continued to stab and kick him. No matter what they wouldn’t stop.

The young man’s friend watched in horror as the group attacked. He was so close that every time the knife was pulled from his friend, his blood, his friend’s blood, landed on him. It made him feel sick. He wanted to try and stop them but he was too scared. He was paralyized in fear. No matter how much he wished he could do something his body refused to move. It was as if he had turned to stone.

The bus continued to drive its route and just as they approached Frontenac, the young man could feel the life leave his body. With each blow and stab he grew weaker and weaker. He was no longer able to defend himself. He didn’t have the energy. The pain he felt was unbearable. He was bruised and cut all over. There was nothing he could do. His friend also had some injuries but they were nowhere near as serious as the pink haired man.

With the station in sight, the teenagers told each other that they had to hurry up and get ready to run once the bus doors opened up. They all nodded in agreement and dealt the final blows to the young man on the floor, covered in blood. His body was limp and nearly lifeless. His breathing was strained. He felt like he was suffocating.

When the bus came to a stop, the group of teens bolted from the doors the moment they opened. The bus driver watched them go without trying to stop them. He looked back at the two young men who remained onboard. The one who had minor injuries crawled over to his friend and checked to see how he was doing. When he tried getting his friend to respond, he panicked when he remained lifeless. In desperation, he got on his knees and began to attempt to resuscitate him. He kept this up until the police arrived. When they did, they went over to the two and checked the lifeless body. With a heavy heart, one officer put a hand on the young man’s shoulder who was trying to save his friend and had to tell him to stop. There was nothing more he could do. His friend had died.

His name was Joe Rose and he was only 23 years old.

AFTERMATH

After Joe Rose’s tragic death, his parents had claimed that the bus driver didn’t activate the emergency signal that was on the bus. This led the transit commission to order the bus driver to pay the parents 25,000 dollars in damages.

The four teenagers who committed the murder were eventually convincted for the crime.

The youngest was 14 years old and he was sentenced to 6 months in a youth home.

There were two who were 15 years old and one was sentenced to 11 months and the other 3 years in a youth home.

The oldest was 19 years old so was convicted in an adult court. He was sentenced to 7 years in prison.

(*Note*: I used male pronouns but in the articles I found there were no personal pronouns for any of the attackers.)

IN LIFE

Joe Rose was a nursing student who attended Dawson College. He was the founder of the LGBTQ+ club at the college which is known as the Etcetera Club in the year 1985. It was a safe place for LGBTQ+ students to meet up and get to know each other. In honour of him, the college erected a plaque in the Conrod´s café.

He lived openly as a gay man and was known for his bright pink hair. He was active in the LGBTQ+ community and vocal about the struggle for gay rights.

He also campaigned for HIV/AIDS awareness and wanted to start a branch of ACT UP in Montreal. Living with AIDS, he struggled with recurring pneumonia and severe weight loss at the time of his death.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. Activist seeks public honour for Joe Rose, whose murder galvanized Montreal's gay community”. John MacFarlane. CBC News, 30 October 2019, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/joe-rose-frontenac-metro-1.5340281.

  2. City to consider naming public square after slain LGBTQ activist”. Adam Kovac. CTV News, 3 November 2019, updated 4 November 2019, https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/city-to-consider-naming-public-square-after-slain-lgbtq-activist-1.4668620.

  3. Prejudice to pride: The forgotten murder of Joe Rose”. Richard Burnett. The Montreal Gazette, 20 March 2015, http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Prejudice+pride+forgotten+murder+Rose/9619291/story.html.

  4. 30 years later, Montreal's gay community reflects on the murder of Joe Rose”. John MacFarlane. CBC News, 19 March 2019, updated 20 March 2019, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/joe-rose-murder-30-years-1.5062744.

Images

  1. “Joe Rose remembered”. Allen McInnis. The Gazette 14 March 2014, http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Rose+remembered/9619465/story.html.

  2. Prejudice to pride: The forgotten murder of Joe Rose”. Richard Burnett. The Montreal Gazette, 20 March 2015, http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Prejudice+pride+forgotten+murder+Rose/9619291/story.html.


Day 12: Nare Mphela

Photo from the video uploaded by Iranti Media on YouTube

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions blood, violence, stabbing, knife attack, burned corps, home intrusion, and alleged hate crime.

Please continue with caution.


This story happened earlier this year and the case is on-going. Information published online is very limited.

It was an ordinary day in the village of Sekgakgapeng, Mokopane, South Africa. The people of the village were enjoying their days and going about their business. The adults came to and from work while the teenagers and young adults came and went from school or part time jobs if they had one.

One young woman had just gotten home from her job and was quite tired. She made it into her house and shut the door behind her. She sighed in relief knowing that a nice hot bath followed by some dinner was waiting for her shortly. She had been so busy that day that she could use a nice long rest. If she could, she would have slept for a week or more. As she entered the house she set her purse down on a table near the door which she closed and locked behind her. She then went to her bedroom and straight for the bathroom. In her room she shredded the clothes from her body and left them on the floor to deal with after her shower.

When she entered the bathroom she turned on the water and when it was ready she got in the tub and relaxed. She let go of the tension that had built up during the day and leaned back. This is just what she needed. At that moment, nothing bothered her. She was able to forget about the stress and her worries. For a short while she was able to just relax and forget about any worries. Once she was done with the bath, she got out and dried off. She got dressed in something comfortable then threw her dirty clothes in the hamper. She would wash them on a later day. At the current moment she didn’t have enough clothes to even fill the washing machine.

After that, she went to her kitchen to begin preparations for dinner. She hummed to herself as she gathered the ingredients and began chopping up the food. When everything was ready, she put them in a pot that had been boiling water on the stove and began making soup. It was something simple and quick to make which is just what she wanted after a long day at work. After she had her dinner, she washed all of the dishes and put away the extra food.

Now she had the rest of the night to herself, she decided to sit back and relax in her bed with a book. She had been reading something for the last few days and was nearly finished. She was sure that she would be able to finish it that day. She grabbed the book from the bookshelf then headed for her bedroom. She went in and closed the door behind her then got comfortable in bed. She opened the book to the page she had bookmarked the last time she read it. She got engaged with the story almost instantly and was so focused that she failed to hear the front door opening. It had been opened slowly and carefully to limit the amount of noise the hinges made. The door had opened up just wide enough for the person to enter the house and was left open as they made their way in. They walked quietly through the house and stopped just outside of the bedroom. They made sure not to stand in front of the door in case the room’s occupant could see their shadow from the crack at the bottom of the door.

The person stood there with their ear pressed against the door and listened to what was happening in the other room. They could faintly hear the sounds of pages from a book being turned then rustling in the bed. They figured that the occupant had finally laid down and was drifting off to sleep. That was good. It was just what the person wanted. They waited for a while to give the woman time to fall asleep before quietly opening the bedroom door.

They opened it just enough to peek inside and looked at the woman in bed. She didn’t stir so she hadn’t heard the door as it opened. The intruder grew a bit bolder and stepped inside the room. Again, the woman didn’t wake up. With an ever growing confidence, they approached the bed and as they got closer they pulled out a knife from their pocket.

Now they were standing over the woman in bed. They looked down at her for a few seconds. It would be an easy kill. She was asleep and defenseless. This would be over in a matter of minutes. The intruder brought down the knife on the woman but it didn’t kill her. It sliced her arm and the pain jolted her away. She screamed and scrambled out of the bed.

In her panic she got tangled up in her sheets and fell to the floor. She looked around the room to see what had caused the pain in her arm and when she saw the intruder she began screaming even louder. The intruder didn’t like this. The last thing they wanted was for someone to hear the woman and come rushing to see what was wrong. They had to finish her off quickly and leave before the police showed up.

They rushed around the bed to the screaming woman and began jabbing the knife at her. Some swings landed while some missed. The woman wasn’t about to let the intruder kill her. Not if she could help it. If she was going to die then she would die fighting. She wasn’t about to make this easy for the intruder.

She fought them off the best she could. She punched and kicked and if she could, bit them too. She did anything she could to defend herself and injure her attacker. However, all this accomplished was making them even angrier. They grunted whenever the woman had managed to land a punch or bit them. After one particularly nasty bite the intruder slapped the woman as hard as they could across her face. The force was enough to stun her and caused her to fall to the ground. She held her face in pain and looked up at the attacker.

By now she was covered in wounds that varied in sizes and depths. All of them stung and bleed. For some, the blood barely left the cut while others were so deep that blood was pouring down her body and soaked her pajamas.

Tears streamed down her face as she looked up at her attacker. She begged with them to spare her life. When they told her that they couldn’t then she demanded to know why they were doing this. They gave her no answer. Instead they continued to attack her and landed some deep stab wounds to her chest. One stab managed to puncture a lung and she struggled for breath. She felt like she was suffocating and every breath she took burned with an unimaginable pain. A pain that she had never felt before. It frightened her. She saw her death was drawing closer with every passing second. She wished she had been able to fight off the attacker. This was certainly not the way she saw her remaining hours on earth.

She had put up a good fight but her intruder had the upper hand. They had attacked her out of nowhere and surprised her. She had no way of defending herself. She was on the ground and her attacker stood above her. Now that she was weak from the wounds to the chest, it was easy for the intruder to finish her off. One more stab and they could see the life drain from her eyes.

She gasped. Her world was blurring then slowly faded into darkness. Her lifeless body collapsed to the ground of her apartment. The intruder pulled the knife from her chest then pulled a lighter from their pocket. They ignited it then dropped it near her body. The flames quickly grew and surrounded her. Now was the time for the intruder to leave which they did. They made their way out of the front door and escaped the area before anyone could stop them.

~ 🏳️‍🌈 ~

On the 5th of January, 2020 the residents of Sekgakgapeng village began noticing strange things. Things that they could no longer ignore. For one thing, the car that belonged to a neighbour and fellow resident had not moved in quite a while. Day in fact. There had been no evidence that it had been moved for a long time and they were starting to get concerned. With every day that passed they checked the property and the car stayed in the exact same spot every time they checked. That troubled them but soon a smell began emanating from the neighbour’s house.

It was a horrific smell and one that no one was able to identify. It smelled worse than anything they had ever come across before with the hint of something burning. When the smell didn’t go away and instead grew stronger they knew that they had to do something. They didn’t want to intrude so they decided to call the Limpopo police to check in on the neighbour.

The police arrived and knocked on the door but got no response. They tried again but still nothing. Each time they were met with an eerie silence. After many failed attempts one officer tried opening the door and found it was unlocked. That wasn’t a good sign. Worried, they looked at each other then nodded and carefully entered the house.

Once inside they saw that there had been a fire. The place was covered in ash and things had burned beyond recognition. Somehow, the building was still standing and didn’t have any noticeable signs of a fire from the outside. The fire had gone out on its own and left a scene of destruction behind.

There was no way that anyone would have survived if they had been in the house they reasoned so instead of calling out to someone they got to work looking for a body. It was a depressing task and all of them hoped that they wouldn’t find one. They all hoped that whoever lived in the house had not been inside at the time of the fire but unfortunately, they were wrong.

When they arrived in the bedroom they were met with a grizzly sight. On the floor next to the bed was the body of a person. At the time they weren’t able to tell if it was a man or a woman. Their initial reaction was to look away from the horrific sight. The body had been burned up but not completely. The fire hadn’t gotten hot enough to burn it to ash. Much of the flesh was still intact but because of the fire, it was a hard thing to look at.

The police called for the corner to come pick up the body and began to investigate the death. Upon asking the neighbours they learned the possible identity of the remains inside.

The victim’s name was Nare Mphela and she was just 28 years old.

It was later confirmed that the remains found in the house were in fact Nare Mphela’s and that she also had evidence of stab wounds.

IN LIFE

Back in 2014, Nare had problems in high school. Being transgender, many people didn’t understand her and this caused to different forms of bullying from not only her peers but from her school’s principal too. According to Nare, one day he walked into the classroom and began talking about homosexuals. When someone asked who in the room was gay the principal pointed to Nare and said that she was gay. When she confronted him about it he apparently just left so she took up the issue to the teacher of the class who would later speak to him and told Nare that he wouldn’t do it again.

When he next entered the class he asked the same question and again someone asked who in the class was gay. Yet again the principal pointed to Nare and said “can’t you see him? You’re in the same class” which caused Nare to start crying. She said how she ran out of the class to find her teacher and explained that the principal had singled her out again.

She had then taken it into her own hands and reached out to the coordinator of the Limpopo LGBTI organization for support. From there she was referred to Iranti.org who went to Limpopo to meet with the organization and Nare. The Iranti team then got a pro bono lawyer to represent Nare and who helped her build an equality court case against the principal. Unfortunately, due to how long the courts took on any case, not just LGBTQ+ related ones, it took quite long for the case to appear in court.

During that time Nare went to high school in fear and said how her principal would hit her for no reason. He had even encouraged students to harass her. He told them to follow her to the bathroom and to grope her to see what kind of genitals she had.

She had failed grade 12 so she tried going back the following year in 2015 but then the principal had said that he would only accept students from Moletji. Nare decided to go to Gauteng to find work and save up so she could go back and finish school later on.

On the 10th of March, 2017 Nare had won the court case and the principal was accused of breaching the Equality Act. She was given a total of 100,000 rand which was divided into three groups. The first 20 thousand were for the psychological damages she had gone through and that she would need the money to pay for counseling. The next 20 thousand was used to pay for Nare to go back and finish her education. Finally, the last 60 thousand rand were for the pain and suffering that Nare had gone through.

Along with the payments, the principal was ordered to go through sensitization training. This is where he would go to learn how to appropriately treat students who identify as LGBTQ+ to hopefully prevent him from harassing another student in the future.

They also wanted the Department of Education to come up with a policy for LGBTQ+ issues that represents the voice of the community. They wanted other LGBTQ+ students to feel safe and have a safe and positive learning environment.

Back in 2015, before they won the case, Iranti had a dialogue with the Department of Education and the LGBTQ+ community to look at trans issues at school. This is where Nare spoke about her case.

In a statement, Itranti.org had said that Nare was “a fierce activist who fought for her right to education” and “a devoted Christian and a fierce advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community”.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. Anger as killer of trans activist Nare Mphela remains free”. Mamba Writer. 7 February 2020, https://www.mambaonline.com/2020/02/07/anger-as-nares-killer-remains-free/.

  2. 'Fearless' transgender activist Nare Mphela found murdered”. Iavan Pijoos. Times Live, 10 January 2020, https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2020-01-10-fearless-transgender-activist-nare-mphela-found-murdered/,

  3. Shock as school transgender rights champion Nare Mphela murdered”. Luiz DeBarros. Mamba Online, 8 January 2020, https://www.mambaonline.com/2020/01/08/shock-as-limpopo-school-trans-rights-champion-murdered/.

  4. "Transgender activist found murdered in Limpopo". PressReader, 11 January 2020, https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/weekend-post-south-africa/20200111/281543702863885.

  5. Transgender activist Nare Mphela found murdered, boyfriend questioned”. Canny Maphanga. News 24, 9 January 2020, https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/transgender-activist-nare-mphela-found-murdered-boyfriend-questioned-20200109.

Other Media

  1. Transgender Victory in Limpopo: Nare Mphela’s Story”. Iranti Media. YouTube, 31 March 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr0t5BpS-GQ.

Day 10: Lindokuhle Cele

Photo posted by Ken Ferror on change.org

​*** IMPORTANT ***

This article mentions violence, blood, stabbing, knife attack, homophobic hate crime, and distressing imagery.

Please continue with caution.


This story was written on June 10th. The case is currently on-going so information is limited.

The day was the 6th of February, 2020 and the hour was quickly approaching dinner time for most families. Many people who were living in the K section of Umlazi, South Africa were in the process of cooking dinner or were just beginning to think about doing so. Those who were coming back home from work were thinking about the possible meal they would eat on that particular day.

In one household, a family was just starting to begin their dinner preparations. There was a woman who was getting on in years and with her in the house was her grandson who was a young man and upcoming aspiring singer. She and the whole family were very proud of his accomplishments and they hoped that he would find success in the music industry. He had already created and published a song that had gotten a lot of positive feedback from his friends and those in the community who heard it. His family, especially his grandmother hoped that he would achieve the success that he seeked and deserved.

The woman went over to the kitchen and opened the fridge. She scanned the contents in search of some food that she would cook for dinner. She had planned to make one of her special recipes that her grandson particularly enjoyed. He of course, loved anything she cooked but that dish in particular was his favourite. However, this meal required meat and as she looked through the fridge she realized that she had run out.

When her grandson entered the kitchen to ask if she needed help, he noticed the puzzled look on her face. When he asked what was wrong, she turned to him and explained that they appeared to be out of meat. She apologized for not being able to cook his favourite meal and that she would have to cook something else. She explained how she would just go out the next day and get it but he was a kind young man who wanted to help others, no matter what. He reassured her that it was no big deal and that he could quickly go to the local butcher shop and pick up whatever she needed. She told him that it wasn’t necessary and that she could easily make something else but he offered. He would have enjoyed anything she made but he told her that if he went now it would spare her a trip later on.

She gave it some thought then agreed. It wouldn’t take her grandson that long and it would be nice to have some meat on hand. He was right, it would spare her a trip later on. She agreed then went over to her purse and pulled out some cash. She counted it then handed her grandson enough to pay for the meat. She then went back to the kitchen and on a piece of paper, wrote down the meats that she wanted him to buy. She also handed the list over and her grandson scanned the contents. She told her grandson to use the money to pay for the meat and that he could keep the rest. He tried telling her no, and that he would give her the change but she insisted. She said that it was the least she could do to thank him for volunteering to help her. When she didn’t stand down the young man dropped it and agreed to keep the change.

He gave his grandmother a parting hug before leaving the house. It was just after 5 P.M so there weren’t that many people out on the streets. There were some but most were already home from work. Those who were out were coming back from work and decided to stop by some shops on the way.

Upon making it to the butcher’s shop, the young man saw that there were already quite a few people inside the building. Since they had arrived before him, he would have to wait for service. It was no big deal for him. He wasn’t in a particular rush and he was sure that the line would go down at a reasonable pace.

In order to keep the place from being too crowded, the young man decided to go outside and wait for some people to exit. He thought that he could also use the fresh air. Perhaps it would help inspire him for a new song.

He stood just outside of the shop and looked up at the sky. It was a nice day out. The young man closed his eyes and took a deep breath in and slowly let it out. He thought about his latest project and when his next performance would be. He thought about his friends and family and how lucky he was to have them. He stood apart from most people but those who knew him didn’t care about that. To them, he was someone that they cared about and loved. He was no different in their eyes and he couldn’t be more thankful for that. His family had been so supportive of not just him but of his future career. They all wanted to see him become an artist and they all believed that he had a good chance of achieving that goal. He was a very talented young man and very creative and had an amazing singing voice.

While he stood there and thought about his future, a taxi cab pulled up to the front of the shop. The young man didn’t notice as a man got out of the cab and began walking towards the shop. At first, it seemed like this was just another customer who was making a quick stop on the way home but the man didn’t head for the door. He turned and made his way for the young man.

As he approached, he pulled a knife from his pocket and picked up the pace. Again, the young man thought nothing of the footsteps that grew closer and closer to him. If someone had wanted to get his attention then they would have called out to him but this man didn’t. There was no reason for the young man to turn around to see who was approaching so he continued on with his thoughts.

The man who had gotten out of the taxi continued walking towards the young man and felt a sense of relief when he didn’t turn around. When he stood right behind him he held up the knife and plunged it right into the other’s back. The pain from the stabbing jolted him from his thoughts. The young man was utterly shocked. He had no idea what was happening. All he knew was that he was in pain. He could barely tell where the pain was coming from. All he knew was that it was coming from his back.

He turned around and came face to face with a man he recognized. It was a man who was fairly well known throughout the community and not in a positive way. In fact, he was known as a rapist but he never faced jail time which had been upsetting to not only his victims, but their families and the community. It just wasn’t right.

The young man was confused as to what this man was doing. He had no time to react when this man lifted his hand and this time, plunged the knife in his chest. This stab wound was deeper than the first one. The pain now spread from the young man’s back to his chest. It hurt for him to breathe. He looked up and watched as the knife was brought down again. This time slicing his face.

He screamed out in pain. He tried to shield himself but it did no good. The man had come out of nowhere and surprised him. He had the upper hand. He loomed over the young man and continued his attack. He never stopped. Not even when the young man asked why he was doing this. What was his motive? What reason had the young man given him to prompt an attack? He had been nothing but kind to everyone he met. Why did this man hold such strong and negative feelings toward him that motivated the attack?

Even as the stabbing continued, the young man continued to plead for his life. He begged the man to stop. He asked him why. He called for help. He made as much noise as he could to draw attention from people nearby but no help came. The people in the butcher’s shop looked out the window and watched the attack. They were all horrified but too scared to do anything. They knew who that man was but they were afraid of him. They were afraid that if they tried to intervene that perhaps he would attack them too. After all, he was holding what looked to be a butcher’s knife and was demonstrating his power. He had used so much force with the attack that it knocked the young man to the ground. He was powerless to stop the attack.

With each new wound, more pain shot through his chest and face. He could feel as his blood soaked through his clothes and poured down his face. He could taste the blood when it reached his mouth. It had a bitter and metallic taste to it. The smell overwhelmed his senses. Along with the blood, the young man could also taste his tears that mixed with the blood.

The witnesses heard the attacker scream at his victim. He screamed horrible words to him. He told his victim how disgusted he was with him and his particular lifestyle. How a man loving another man was gross and wrong. His victim kept repeating how he was sorry and that he wanted to be spared but that seemed to just fuel the man’s rage. He told his victim that he was going to disfigure him. He was going to cut up his face. He was going to ruin it so the young man would not be able to continue on with his life being a pretty boy. He said that all of this was unnatural and just downright wrong.

Then something terrible occurred.

Something that the witnesses and the young man had not been expecting. Something that was disturbing. His attacker took the knife and with one swoop, drove it into his left eye. He howled in pain. He screamed at the top of his lungs. The sound was distressing to those who were nearby. It disturbed them but still they couldn’t find the courage to stop the attack. The fear held them back. All they could do was listen to the commotion.

They watched as the attacker tried to pull the knife out but it had gone so deep and his victim struggled to fight him off. Accompanied by the blood, pulling the knife out was more difficult than the man had thought it would be. He wanted to continue his rampage and finish off his victim. In desperation, he grabbed the knife with both hands and pulled but he only succeeded in cutting his hands in the process. He hissed in pain and yanked his hands away. Now they weren’t just covered in his victim’s blood, but now his too.

With the injuries on his hands, the attacker thought the best course of action was to flee the area. He had done enough damage and he was sure that the police would be arriving any moment. He had done his job. His victim had been disfigured. Now he had to leave so he took off. When he was out of sight, the people inside of the butcher’s shop finally felt safe enough to check on the young man. Some ran over to him while others who had a weak stomach stayed inside. One customer got on the phone with the police right away and informed them that an ambulance was needed right away.

The people did their best to stop the bleeding but there had been so many injuries to the young man. There was blood all over and it soaked right through his clothes. It was a horrific sight. Just the blood alone was disturbing but the knife made it worse.

When the ambulance arrived, the young man was placed in the back and rushed to the hospital. He was taken to Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital. The EMTs did their best to treat his injuries but the damage had been too severe. When the ambulance arrived, a doctor checked the patient and confirmed that he was dead.

The young man’s name was Lindokuhle Cele and he was only 23 years old.

AFTERMATH

The suspect who attacked Lindokuhle was identified as 30 year old Mvuyisi Noguda. The community knew him as a rapist.

He managed to flee the scene and went into hiding but a family member of his convinced him to go to the hospital to treat his injuries, according to Lindokuhle’s aunt in an interview. Once he left, the family member then called the police and informed them where Mvuyisi was headed.

He was arrested at the hospital and is in jail as he waits for the trial to begin.

He had told some friends that he didn’t like Lindo because of how he identified as a gay man. He said how he hated Lindo for being beautiful and because he was famous, admired and loved by so many people. For all those reasons he wanted to not just kill Lindokhule, but to completely ruin his face and to make him blind.

IN LIFE

Lindokuhle Cele was a young man who dreamed of becoming a singer. Online, he went by the name of Lindo Sea and he had created a song titled “Young Love” which can be heard online.

Lindo’s aunt, Nombuso Cele has described him as a “loving person” who always had a smile on his face, always laughed and was a person who wouldn’t even hurt a fly.

She even said that the family loved him, regardless of his sexuality. They understood how he didn’t choose to be gay. He was just born that way and the signs had been present ever since he was young. Instead of hating him for something not in his control, they embraced and supported him.

A friend of Lindo’s, Nokukhanya Mathebula also commented on how wonderful of a person he was. They said that if friends got into a fight, he would be the one to step up to stop the bickering and help come up with a solution.

SOURCES

Articles

  1. Durban man to appear in court for brutal stabbing of gender activist”. Orrin Singh. Sowetan Live, 10 February 2020, https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/south-africa/2020-02-10-durban-man-to-appear-in-court-for-brutal-stabbing-of-gender-activist/.

  2. Durban musician brutally killed in alleged homophobic attack”. Gcinokuhle Malinga. East Coast Radio, 10 February 2020, https://www.ecr.co.za/news/news/durban-musician-brutally-killed-in-alleged-homophobic-attack/.

  3. Every person’s silence against violence gives perpetrators licence to kill”. Gushwell Brooks. Mail & Guardian, 26 February 2020, https://mg.co.za/analysis/2020-02-26-every-persons-silence-against-violence-gives-perpetrators-licence-to-kill/.

  4. FAMILY OF MURDERED LINDOKUHLE CELE BELIEVE WITNESSES FEAR ACCUSED”. Nkosikhona Duma. Eyewitness News, https://ewn.co.za/2020/02/17/family-of-murdered-lindokuhle-cele-believe-witnesses-fear-accused.

  5. Gender Activist: SA Man To Appear In Court For Brutal Stabbing”. African Punch, 11 February 2020, https://africanpunch.com/gender-activist-sa-man-to-appear-in-court-for-brutal-stabbing/.

  6. Human Rights Commission on brutal murder of gay rights activist, Lindokuhle Cele”. South African Human Rights Commission, 20 February 2020, https://www.gov.za/speeches/human-rights-commission-brutal-murder-gay-activist-20-feb-2020-0000.

  7. Justice for Lindo: Address homophobia during SONA, Mr President”. Mbali Ntuli MPL. DA KwaZulu-Natal, 13 February 2020, https://kzn.da.org.za/2020/02/justice-for-lindo-address-homophobia-during-sona-mr-president.

  8. KZN gender activist's horrific murder sparks cry for tolerance”. Nkululeko Nene. Independent Online, 16 February 2020, https://www.iol.co.za/sunday-tribune/news/kzn-gender-activists-horrific-murder-sparks-cry-for-tolerance-42819929.

  9. Lindo Cele murder accused bail hearing postponed”. Roberto Igual. Mamba Online, 18 February 2020, https://www.mambaonline.com/2020/02/18/lindo-cele-murder-accused-bail-hearing-postponed/.

  10. Lindo Cele murder is third LGBTIQ killing in just two months”. Roberto Igual. Mamba Online, 13 February 2020, https://www.mambaonline.com/2020/02/13/lindo-cele-murder-is-third-lgbtiq-killing-in-just-two-months/.

  11. Lindokuhle Cele’s alleged killer abandons bail bid”. Nkosikhona Duma. MSN News, 25 February 2020, https://www.msn.com/en-za/news/crime/lindokuhle-celes-alleged-killer-abandons-bail-bid/ar-BB10nLxn.

  12. Lindokuhle Cele's alleged killer seeks bail”. Nushera Soodyal. East Coast Radio, 10 February 2020, https://www.ecr.co.za/news/news/lindokuhle-celes-alleged-killer-seeks-bail/.

  13. Man accused of killing Lindokuhle Cele abandons bail application”. Khalesakhe Mbhense. SABC News, 25 February 2020, https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/man-accused-of-killing-lindokuhle-cele-abandons-bail-application/.

  14. Man accused of killing musician and LGBTQI activist Lindokuhle Cele to apply for bail”. Jenna Etheridge. News 24, 11 February 2020, https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/man-accused-of-killing-musician-and-lgbtqi-activist-lindokuhle-cele-to-apply-for-bail-20200211.

  15. Queeraktivist und Sänger in Südafrika ermordet”. Leander Milbrecht. Männer, 14 February 2020, https://www.maenner.media/gesellschaft/ausland/queeraktivist-und-saenger-in-suedafrika-ermordet/.

  16. SOCIAL MEDIA LIVID AFTER ALLEGED HOMOPHOBIC ATTACK”. Journalism Editor. IzikoDUT, 10 February 2020, http://journalismiziko.dut.ac.za/current-affairs/social-media-livid-after-alleged-homophobic-attack/.

  17. The man accused of killing LGBTQI activist Lindokuhle Cele is applying for bail”. COSMO. Cosmopolitan, https://www.cosmopolitan.co.za/politics/man-accused-lindokuhle-cele-bail/.

  18. WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Man to appear in Umlazi court for murder of Lindo Cele”. SABC News, 10 February 2020, https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/warning-graphic-content-man-to-appear-in-umlazi-court-for-murder-of-lindo-cele/.

  19. WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Man to appear in Umlazi court for murder of Lindo Cele”. Shaddy Mavasa. NWERETI NEWS. 10 February 2020, https://www.nweretinews.com/2020/02/10/warning-graphic-content-man-to-appear-in-umlazi-court-for-murder-of-lindo-cele/.

  20. WARNING GRAPHIC DETAILS: Budding musician killed in suspected homophobic attack”. Wendy Mothata. SABC News, 9 February 2020, https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/warning-graphic-details-budding-musician-killed-in-suspected-homophobic-attack/.

Images

  1. Lindo Cele. Ken Ferror. Change.org, https://www.change.org/p/government-getjustice4lindo?recruiter=1041983757&recruited_by_id=10888ec0-4b3b-11ea-991a-e5c74caf5e97.

  2. Young Love. Lindo Sea. SoundCloud, https://soundcloud.com/lindo-sea/young-love.


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