Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Killer of gay man may get undeserved early parole

Sean Kennedy's killer may go free earlier than expected.

For those who are not aware, the following are the facts:

Sean William Kennedy, 20, was attacked in the early morning of May 17, 2007 outside the former Brew's Bar in Greenville, South Carolina. His assailant, Stephen Andrew Moller, pulled up in a car, threw one punch after reportedly yelling anti-gay slurs, and fled. Kennedy died about 17 hours later from the brain injury he sustained, and friends and family believe he was targeted at least in part due to his sexual orientation.

Since South Carolina has no hate crime statute, no enhancement was available for Moller's June 2008 sentence of five years in prison on a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter. The judge reduced the sentence to three years with credit for seven months' time served and ordered Moller to seek help to manage anger and substance abuse.

There is a now a strong possibility that Moller could get out on parole as early as next month.

Moller should have gotten more time for this senseless crime but as it was, he received a lucky break.

He does not deserve another one. As someone who has lost a loved one due to senseless violence (my father), I know what it's like to have that constant spot of emptiness in your heart when pondering the unfairness of a life snatched away through the selfish acts of another.

It's not vengeance but justice for Moller to serve his full time.

Since Sean's death, his mother Elke has been a huge advocate for the lgbt community as well as an outspoken proponent for hate crime laws. She is the founder of Sean's Last Wish, a group devoted to stopping the violence against lgbt youth.

She is urging that people write the parole board asking that they not give Moller an early release:

Letters can be sent to:

Department of Probation Pardon and Parole Services
2221 Devine Street, Suite 600
PO Box 50666
Columbia SC 29250