Bush Administration Indicts Anti-Gay Killer
Ashcroft Denounces Anti-Gay Violence, Pledges All-Out Assault on "Poisonous Mixture of Hatred and Violence"; Killer Could Face Death Penalty
(WASHINGTON, DC) – U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft today announced a federal indictment of capital murder against Darrell David Rice, who is accused of murdering Julianne Marie Williams, 24, and Lollie Winans, 26, in the Shenandoah National Park in 1996. The indictment alleges that Rice "intentionally selected his victims because of his hatred of women and homosexuals."
"The volatile, poisonous nature of hatred and violence will not go unchallenged in the American system of justice," Ashcroft said, adding that the indictment should make clear "our commitment to seek every prosecutorial advantage ... to secure justice for victims like Julianne Marie Williams and Lollie Winans."
According to court documents, Rice stated that "he hates gays" and that the victims "deserved to die because they were lesbian." As the indictments are for capital murders, Rice faces a possible death sentence, Ashcroft affirmed.
The Bush Administration is pursuing the indictment under the federal Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act, passed by Congress in 1993. The federal government has jurisdiction to prosecute bias-related crimes of violence committed on federal lands such as the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, a federal park. The 1993 law makes clear that crimes committed by bias against gays are covered. The Bush Administration's action is the first federal prosecution of an anti-gay murder under the 1993 law.
"This is another example of the Bush Administration's commitment to ensuring that all Americans are treated fairly under the law, including gay Americans," said Rich Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "It is also another example of the Attorney General following through on what he said he would do as the nation's top law enforcer. He has been a friend of our organization since the day he took office, and we are proud to have continued to work with him and the Administration."
A full transcript of the Attorney General's announcement of the indictment of Darrell David Rice is available at http://www.lcr.org
Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest gay and lesbian Republican organization, with state and local chapters nationwide, a full-time national office and a federal political action committee.