Gay Panic Defense Still Works

Earlier this month, Fort Worth Sheriff Jeff Halstead used the Gay Panic Defense when a man ended up in Intensive Care at the hands of police. But in another case in Chicago, Gay Panic convinced a jury to acquit a man of murder charges, even though he admitted stabbing his victim 61 times. From the Chicago Sun Times:

Joseph Biedermann fatally stabbed his Hoffman Estates neighbor 61 times last year.

On Friday, a Cook County jury acquitted him of first-degree murder, buying his claim that he was defending himself against an unwanted sexual advance, his mother confirmed Saturday.

The Chicago Daily Herald elaborated on closing arguments:

[Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Mike Clarke] called [Terrance Michael Hauser’s] death “nothing less than a cold, brutal, senseless, killing” committed by a defendant who lied.

Biedermann claimed that invited him back to Hauser’s apartment several hours after they met for the first time at a neighborhood bar near where both men lived in the Barrington Lakes Apartment Complex. Both men were intoxicated. Toxicology reports indicated Hauser’s blood-alcohol content was .277; Biedermann’s was .226.

Clarke refuted Biedermann’s charges, saying the room showed no signs of a struggle. No chairs were overturned, wine glasses remained upright on a coffee table, and two video game guitars remained undisturbed. He also contrasted Biedermann’s minor injuries to Hauser’s 61 stab wounds including significant wounds to his jugular vein, lungs, kidney, pancreas and abdomen, any of which could have caused his death.

“He may be presumed innocent, but he’s not presumed honest,” said Clarke. “There are more holes in his story than a piece of Swiss cheese.”

Defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. refuted prosecutors’ claims.

“The state said there was no struggle, the medical examiner testified there was,” said Adam, referring to Dr. Ponni Arunkumar’s testimony regarding Biedermann’s DNA found under Hauser’s fingernails.

After the incident, Biedermann ran to his apartment, leaving his coat, shoes and wallet behind, Adam said. He banged on the door and yelled at his girlfriend, Ana Oleszkiewicz, to call 911 while he kept repeating: “Why did he do that? Why did this happen to me?” Adam said.

“When a man stabs a man 61 times there’s a reason,” Adam said. It wasn’t robbery; nothing was stolen. It wasn’t drugs; toxicology reports indicated both men tested negative for any drug but alcohol, Adam said. It wasn’t jealousy; the men didn’t know each other.

The reason was self-defense, Adam said, a claim Biedermann testified he made repeatedly while being treated for his injuries at St. Alexius Medical Center. He said he told a nurse a man tried to rape and kill him. The nurse did not testify.

The jury deliberated for just five hours before setting Biedermann free.

(ht @DorianWright. I even stole the title.)


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