Atlanta Prosecutor Criticizes “Gay Panic” Defense


District Attorney Paul Howard in Fulton County, Ga., has assailed what has become a-common attempt to justify murder in Fulton County. Some lawyers have dubbed it the “gay panic” defense, but it didn’t fly with jurors this week, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A jury convicted James Lee Shaw, 39, in the 2002 slaying of a co-worker at a cafe; Shaw claimed he fatally stabbed Rowland Hardwick, 53, in a restroom because Hardwick had a knife and tried to rape him. Shaw told jurors he suffered flashbacks to his childhood when he was molested by men. Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes sentenced Shaw to life in prison plus five years.

Howard said prosecutors are “sick” of this type of defense. “It is demeaning, outrageous, insulting and downright ridiculous for defendants to believe that the death of any human being is justified because he or she is homosexual,” Howard said.


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