Photos -- Candlelight vigil for hate crime victims
Photos by Antonia Padilla, QSanAntonio, November 23, 2009
Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado and Jason Mattison Jr.
Activists plan candlelight vigil for hate crime
QSanAntonio.com, November 21, 2009
San Antonio activists are planning a candlelight vigil on November 22
to protest hate crimes against GLBT people and to commemorate the lives
of two gay teens that were murdered in recent days. The vigil, to be held
in Crockett Park, is one of hundreds held in cities across the U.S. on
The nationwide vigils are being organized to honor the lives of Jorge
Steven Lopez Mercado, 19, of Puerto Rico and Jason Mattison Jr., 15 of
Baltimore, both murdered within a week of each other.
On November 13, 2009, 26-year-old Juan Martinez Matos picked up Lopez
in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and drove him to the nearby town of Cidra. After
discovering that Mercado, who was dressed as a female, was a man, Matos,
became enraged. Not only did he kill Mercado, but also beheaded and dismembered
his body and set the remains on fire.
Less than a week later, details of another brutal murder surfaced.
This time in Baltimore, where Mattison was found dead - raped, gagged
with a pillowcase, stabbed repeatedly in the head and throat, and shoved
into an upstairs closet in his aunt’s home. Mattison’s aunt
says Dante Parrish, 35, who is charged with first-degree murder in the
case, is a longtime family friend.
San Antonio has seen it’s share of hate crimes recently as well.
In the early morning hours of Sunday, August 31, James Lee Whitehead (a.k.a.
Niki Hunter) had just left the Saint and was walking along Ogden street
to his home at the Irvine Apartments. At the corner of East Park he encountered
three armed assailants who knocked him to the ground and began beating
him. A policeman responding to the attack accidentally killed Whitehead
when he shot at one of the assailants.
Adina Stewart, 34, a lesbian, was severely beaten and robbed outside her
apartment on the Northwest side during the early morning hours of November
8 while her partner watched helplessly as the assailant screamed out,
"I’m gonna kill you."
On November 12, Enrique Santos, 22, was charged with murder after confessing
to killing Jorge Sgetelmeg. Santos told police a fight broke out between
them because Sgetelmeg made sexual advances.
Activist Dino Foxx who along with attorney Maria Salazar is planning the
San Antonio vigil, says the event is in response to the sudden and widespread
outrage to the murders of the two gay teens and for GLBT victims locally.
Foxx says that speakers slotted to appear at the vigil include major social
and artistic leaders from the San Antonio GLBT activist community.
Anti-hate crime candlelight vigil to be held at 5 p.m.
on November 22, 2009 at Crockett Park on North Main Street at Cypress
in San Antonio. For more information contact Dino Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.