Two men have been arrested and charged in connection to the killing of out lesbian journalist Lyra McKee, who was shot to death while covering a riot in Northern Ireland two years ago.
“These arrests are the culmination of a detailed two-year investigation into Lyra’s murder and the events which preceded it,” Police Service of Northern Ireland Detective Superintendant Jason Murphy said in a written statement. “The local community have supported the Police Service of Northern Ireland throughout the course of this protracted investigation, and I wish to thank them for their continued support.”
A refugee because of homophobia and violence in Mozambique, Lara was assaulted and saw friends being killed and raped for their sexuality. Since 2013, she has lived with her wife and child in São Paulo. … “He punched me in the face, I’ll never forget it,” recalls 37-year-old businesswoman Lara Lopes, referring to one of her memories of life in Mozambique, Southeast Africa, when she was attacked by a man in the street for being a lesbian. Another vivid memory was the day her own family excluded her from dinner. “I never forget the day I went to dinner at my aunt’s house with my cousins. They excluded me, put me in a corner by myself and forbade their women to talk to me”. Both episodes were based on the same reason: homophobia. … Her father, who was very involved in sport, heard other people talking about Lara and left the family because of his daughter’s sexuality. “He always heard something, but he never came to talk about it. One day he left the house, he didn’t tell anyone and when my mother tried to find out why, he said that I was using drugs, but I never did that in my life. I soon understood what was happening”, she says.
In addition to her father’s abandonment, prejudice, according to her, is part of a society strongly influenced by Christian religions, predominantly evangelical ones. “They cursed and yelled in the street, I sometimes heard it, without even knowing where the person was. Sometimes the person would throw something from the top of a building on our heads – there were people who would throw water”.
Other than that, Lara saw even more violent forms of homophobia in the country where it was a crime to be gay until July 2015. “In the south they do a lot. Two friends of mine who couldn’t stand the verbal abuse were murdered. I sometimes ask myself: if I were still in Mozambique wouldn’t that be me?”, she asks.
One of the cases she remembers was the day when a man attacked her at the end of a football game. “It was in a public field in the center of the city, called Campo do Estrela. It’s normal for men to hint, but there are people who swallow it, my friends don’t. The guy wanted to start a fight with us, he went for it completely, cursed us with a lot of names, he punched me in the face. And I’m absolutely sure that if he sees me today, he’ll remember it very well”, she says, disgusted. “These are things you can’t forget, they’re kept there in a little drawer”, she laments.
State violence Homophobia is a legacy of colonialism that prevails to this day in at least 30 African countries which retain the criminalisation of same-sex relationships, or otherwise restrict non-heteronormative sexual practices, according to information from the 2019 State-Sponsored Homophobia report, produced by International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA).
Mozambique, which was a Portuguese colony, broke away from its Penal Code that penalised LGBT people in 2015, but no protection was granted in relation to sexual orientation or gender identity, says the report, which also pointed to the Mozambican state’s refusal to register the NGO Lambda Moçambique, which deals with LGBT rights”.
Lambda has been in a legal battle for more than 10 years to be legally recognized by the Mozambican government, despite being the first association for the defense of sexual minorities in the country. The entity’s performance was also part of Lara’s life. “Despite being dangerous, I have always lived with LGBT people, I was part of the direction of Lambda, which is still not accepted by the government. It is not an easy task. Religion influences so much, especially the evangelicals. They think they are the owners of the truth and position themselves as God. My wife’s mother is an extreme evangelical, for example.”
Refugiada por causa da LGBTfobia e da violência do Estado de Moçambique, Lara foi agredida e viu amigas sendo mortas e estupradas por sua sexualidade. Desde 2013, ela vive com a esposa e um filho em São Paulo … “Ele me deu um soco na cara, nunca vou esquecer isso”, lembra a empresária de 37 anos, Lara Lopes, ao se referir a uma das memórias de sua vida em Moçambique, sudeste da África – ela foi agredida por um homem na rua por ser lésbica. Outra recordação viva em sua mente foi o dia em que a própria família a excluiu de um jantar. “Nunca esqueço o dia que eu fui jantar na casa da minha tia, entre primos, eles me excluíram, me colocaram num canto sozinha e proibiram suas mulheres de conversarem comigo”. Ambos os episódios têm o mesmo motivo: LGBTfobia. … O pai, que frequentava muito o meio do esporte, ouvia outras pessoas falando de Lara e abandonou a família por conta da orientação sexual da filha. “Ele ouvia sempre alguma coisa, mas nunca chegou para conversar a respeito. Um dia ele saiu de casa, não falou para ninguém e quando a minha mãe procurou saber o porquê, ele falou que eu estava consumindo drogas, mas eu nunca consumi na minha vida. Logo entendi o que estava acontecendo”, conta.
Além do abandono do pai, o preconceito, segundo ela, faz parte da sociedade influenciada fortemente por religiões cristãs, predominantemente as evangélicas. “Xingavam e gritavam na rua, eu ouvia às vezes, sem nem saber onde é que a pessoa estava. Às vezes a pessoa jogava alguma coisa do alto de um prédio na nossa cabeça, tinha gente que jogava água”.
Fora isso, Lara viu formas ainda mais violentas de LGBTfobia no país em que era crime ser homossexual até julho de 2015. “Chamam a pratica de estupro em pessoas LGBTs de ‘violação cura’, ou ‘violação correctiva’, que agora na África do Sul eles fazem muito. Duas amigas minhas que não aguentavam os desaforos foram assassinadas. Eu às vezes me pergunto: será que se eu estivesse em Moçambique não estaria nessa estatística delas duas?”, questiona.
Um dos casos lembrados por ela foi o dia em que um homem a agrediu ao final de um jogo de futebol. “Foi em um campo público que fica no centro da cidade, chama-se Campo do Estrela. É normal os homens mandarem indiretas, só que tem gente que engole, minhas amigas não. O cara estava com vontade de criar briga com a gente, ele foi pra cima, com tudo mesmo, xingou a gente um monte de nome, ele me deu um soco na cara. E eu tenho a certeza absoluta que se ele me ver hoje, ele vai se lembrar muito bem disso”, conta, revoltada. “São coisas que não tem como você esquecer, está lá guardado numa gavetinha”, lamenta.
Violência do Estado A LGBTfobia é uma herança do colonialismo que impera até hoje em ao menos 30 países africanos que persistem em manter como crime as relações entre pessoas do mesmo sexo ou em restringir práticas sexuais não heteronormativas, segundo informações do relatório Homofobia Patrocinada pelo Estado 2019, produzido pela Associação Internacional de Gays e Lésbicas (ILGA).
Moçambique, que foi colônia portuguesa, se desvencilhou de seu Código Penal que penalizava pessoas LGBT em 2015, mas nenhuma proteção foi concedida em relação à orientação sexual ou identidade de gênero, diz o relatório, que também apontou a negação do Estado moçambicano em registar a ONG Lambda Moçambique, que trata dos direitos LGBTs “.
Lambda está há mais de 10 anos em uma batalha jurídica para ser reconhecida legalmente pelo governo moçambicano, apesar de ser a primeira associação de defesa de minorias sexuais no país. A atuação da entidade também fez parte da vida de Lara. “Apesar de ser perigoso, eu sempre convivi com pessoas LGBTs, fiz parte da direção da Lambda, que até agora não é assumida pelo governo, não é uma tarefa fácil. A religião influencia ainda mais, principalmente na parte dos evangélicos, eles se acham os donos da verdade e se colocam na posição de Deus. A mãe da minha esposa é evangélica extremista, por exemplo”.
Family, friends and members of the LGBTIQ+ community in Limpopo have been left reeling by the brutal rape and murder of a young lesbian community health worker, in what is suspected to be a hate crime.
A young lesbian community health worker was raped, stabbed multiple times and dumped alongside the road next to Helen Franz Hospital in the rural Senwabarwana area of Limpopo last week.
Thapelo Constance Sehata (23), of Desmond Park in Senwabarwana, was found on Wednesday (28 July 2021) unconscious and bleeding from severe stab wounds, just a short distance from the hospital.
She later succumbed to her injuries, following what her family and fellow members of the LGBTIQ+ community described as a hate crime motivated by her sexual identity. Police have confirmed the incident.
Sehata was a mother of a nine-year-old girl and worked as peer educator at the non-governmental organisation (NPO) Centre for Positive Care (CPC).
Her distraught older sister, Pretty Sehata (31), told Health-e News this week that the whole family, including their 63-year-old mother, was hurt beyond words.
“Thapelo was open about being lesbian and we accepted and loved her as our own in the family. Of course, there were some residents who would mock, insult and ridicule her for what she was. And here we are in pain today, mourning her brutal killing. She was raped, killed and dumped along the road as if she was not human,” said Pretty.
This past Wednesday at 1 a.m. in Piedmont Park the bodies of Katherine Janness, 40, and her dog Bowie were found. Janness had been stabbed multiple times, her face disfigured in the attack.
“She was the most intelligent, kind, humble, and beautiful person I have ever known. I wanted to spend every second with her,” her fiancee Emma Clark wrote on Facebook.
“Today I lost the love of my life and my baby boy. It was tragic.”
Janness – a bartender at the Campagnolo Restaurant and Bar in Atlanta – and Clark had dinner together on Tuesday evening and then Janness took Bowie for a walk. When she didn’t come home, Clark found her body by using an app to track her phone’s location in the park about a mile from their home.
Police searched the park for evidence and went door-to-door in the neighborhood to find witnesses. They returned to the park with diving gear to search a lake.
The last known picture of Janness shows her crossing a nearby rainbow crosswalk. Atlanta police released the image and are offering a $10,000 reward for information on the killing.
5 July 2021: A Connecticut double murder-suicide may have been pushed by the killer’s homophobia, the household of one of the victims mentioned.
David Knowledge, 65, killed himself Friday in his Windsor Locks house after he shot his spouse, her daughter and an 18-year-old girl mentioned to be the daughter’s lover, The Journal Inquirer reported.
His spouse, Delores Tracey Knowledge, 44, and pal Lauren “Lela” Leslie died – however the unnamed daughter survived and was handled for a number of gunshot wounds at an area hospital, The Hartford Courant mentioned.
Leslie’s brother Jhavier Leslie informed the Courant the household needed an investigation to see if the crime was “rooted in hate.”
“It’s arduous to undergo this new actuality of not having her right here, however I feel it is a half of an even bigger situation in society that should be addressed of simply homophobia and the risks round that,” Leslie mentioned, based on the Courant.
“She spent her entire life barely speaking as a result of she was afraid of who she was and she or he lastly gained the power to understand who she is, so it’s very troublesome for me to know that now, her being her true self and dwelling in her actuality, that is the outcome of that in my eyes,” he added.
Massimo Sebastiani was sentenced to 20 years for the murder of Elisa Pomarelli, the young friend he strangled in August 2019 and whose body was hidden by the murderer in the hills in the province of Piacenza. The prosecutor had asked for 24 years for Sebastiani, who was arrested after a few days on the run hidden in the hills, before being accused of murder and concealment of a corpse.
The wrath of Elisa’s family – “This is not justice, 20 years is so short. She deserved a life sentence”, said the victim’s family after dscovering the sentence. Elisa was strangled by a man she had considered a friend. Sebastiani, on the other hand, was convinced that Elisa was his girlfriend. After killing her, the 47-year-old worker sent messages to Elisa with the intention of throwing off the investigation. (Translated)
Massimo Sebastiani è stato condannato a 20 anni per l’omicidio di Elisa Pomarelli, la giovane amica che nell’agosto del 2019 venne strangolata e il cui corpo fu nascosto dall’assassino sulle colline in provincia di Piacenza. La procura aveva chiesto 24 anni per Sebastiani, arrestato dopo alcuni giorni in fuga nascosto sulle colline, imputato per omicidio volontario e occultamento di cadavere e processato in abbreviato.
L’ira della famiglia di Elisa – “Questa non è giustizia, 20 anni sono pochi. Meritava l’ergastolo”, hanno detto i familiari della vittima dopo la lettura della sentenza. Elisa fu strangolata da quello che considerava un amico. Sebastiani, invece, era convinto che Elisa fosse la sua fidanzata. Dopo averla uccisa l’operaio 47enne inviò dei messaggi a Elisa con l’intenzione di depistare le indagini. (Original)
Part two of this extract, the first part of which the Mail & Guardian published last week, lists the names of black lesbians who were murdered between 2007 and 2018, allegedly because of their sexual orientation.
On the morning of June 22, at the age of 39, Ana Paula Campestrini was executed with 14 shots when she arrived home. The entire event, which lasted about ten seconds, was recorded by the security cameras of the condominium where she lived, in Curitiba (PR). …
Living a personal process of discovery, Ana discovered that she was a lesbian and asked for a divorce from her husband, butr never from the children. From that point she was subjected to blackmail and threats from her ex, lawyer Wagner Oganauskas. …
“The only thing she wanted was to be able to be happy being who she was [a lesbian woman] and to be able to have contact with her children. And she was taken from our lives,” said Luana, in a choked voice, over the phone, as she headed to the demonstration for justice by Ana Paula. On Sunday (27 June), dozens of people walked through the central streets of Curitiba asking for the investigation into her murder to be prioritised. Two suspects have been arrested: Wagner Oganauskas, ex-husband of Ana Paula, and a friend of his, Marcos Antônio Ramon. (Translated)
Na manhã de 22 de junho, aos 39 anos, Ana Paula Campestrini foi executada com 14 tiros ao chegar em casa. Quatorze. Toda a ação, que dura cerca de dez segundos, foi registrada pelas câmeras de segurança do condomínio onde ela morava, em Curitiba (PR). …
Vivendo um processo pessoal de descobertas, Ana se entendeu lésbica e pediu o divórcio. Do marido. Nunca dos filhos. Mas desde então passou a sofrer chantagens e ameaças do ex, o advogado Wagner Oganauskas. …
“A única coisa que ela queria era poder ser feliz sendo quem ela era [uma mulher lésbica] e poder ter contato com os filhos. E ela foi arrancada das nossas vidas”, desabafou Luana, com a voz embargada, por telefone, enquanto se dirigia à manifestação por justiça por Ana Paula. No domingo (27), dezenas de pessoas caminharam pelas ruas centrais de Curitiba pedindo celeridade na apuração do crime. Dois suspeitos foram presos: Wagner Oganauskas, ex-marido de Ana Paula, e um amigo dele, Marcos Antônio Ramon. (Original)
This is an edited extract from the book Femicide in South Africa (Kwela) by Nechama Brodie.
In 1990, the year that Nelson Mandela was released, Johannesburg held the very first Gay and Lesbian Pride march, at which Simon Nkoli, Beverly Ditsie and Justice Edwin Cameron were among the speakers. The marchers chanted, “Out of the closet and into the streets.”
It was a significant moment, even though it would take several more years before gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) individuals would be granted similar rights and protections as hetero- and cis-sexual South Africans, first under an interim and then a final constitution that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender.
Between 1994 and 2005 a number of legal amendments were made and new laws introduced that formalised rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals. The criminalisation of sodomy was declared unconstitutional. Same-sex partners were granted similar rights in terms of immigration and financial benefits as those granted to different-sex spouses or partners. Trans and intersex individuals were allowed to change their legally recognised sex. Same-sex couples were allowed to jointly adopt children or adopt each other’s children. Lesbian couples were allowed to be registered as the natural, legitimate parents of a child that one of them had born.
There were also challenges to the constitutionality of the Marriage Act, which did not then allow for same-sex unions to be recognised as marriages. By late 2005, the Constitutional Court ruled that the Marriage Act was unconstitutional and gave parliament one year in which to remedy the matter.
But being “out of the closet” also meant that LGBTI individuals were more openly targeted for hate, harassment, victimisation and violence — even as these new laws were passed supposedly protecting their rights. Although this text focuses on violence against black lesbians, it is important to note that the growth in hate crimes was experienced by all members of the LGBTI community, with transgender individuals experiencing even higher levels of violence, as a group, than lesbians or gay men.
Black lesbians face double jeopardy This is also a good place to discuss why this is about “black lesbians” and not just lesbians, and also what the concept of “black lesbians” represents as a group, even though it is quite obviously made up of individual black women who are by no means homogenous because of their sexual preference.
In Nonhlanhla Mkhize, Jane Bennett, Vasu Reddy and Relebohile Moletsane’s book The Country We Want to Live In: Hate Crimes and Homophobia in the Lives of Black Lesbian South Africans (HSRC Press, 2010), they note that, although there were risks to “singling out a particular group of people as targets of gender-based violence”, black lesbians were “doubly vulnerable”.
This was because, firstly, although all women in South Africa were vulnerable to violence, there was a correlation between increased poverty and increased vulnerability and, in South Africa, being black meant there was a greater association with being poor or having less access to resources. Not only did black women live in environments in which, just as other black women, they were vulnerable to attack, they also lived in places in which cultures were often deeply homophobic and in which sexual violence had become a “popular weapon”.
In the 1980s, the country’s ongoing rape crisis had started to take on chilling new aspects, including gang rapes that became known as “jackrolling”. Jackrolling initially involved the selection and abduction of a victim, usually a woman who (her attackers believed) presented herself as if she was “better than them” and “out of reach”. There were echoes of these sentiments in the growing number of stories that began to emerge during the 1990s of black lesbian women being targeted, being beaten and raped by men, supposedly as a means of “teaching them how to be proper women”.
This gradually became referred to as “curative” or “corrective” rape, and involved three distinct aspects: one was punishment of the woman, for her choice of sexual identity and her lifestyle; a second was the humiliation of the victim — as with jackrolling, this was often achieved through gang rapes; the third was the repulsive misnomer of “transforming” lesbians into heterosexual women through violent penetration.
Even as newspapers carried the occasional story about black lesbians’ struggles for acceptance individually or within their communities in the context of the changing legislative landscape, almost every single one of these women’s accounts also included incidents of violence, most frequently rape. Sometimes these women were even raped with the knowledge of their family members, who either actively encouraged the assault in the hope of ridding the young woman of her homosexuality, or tacitly accepted such attacks as what should happen to “girls like that”.
DURBAN – THE MEC for Social Development in KwaZulu-Natal is calling on residents to rally around the LGBTI+ community following the gruesome murder of a 22-year-old woman.
MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza said KwaMakhutha resident Anele Bhengu’s body was found dumped in the Durban south township.
She was raped and stabbed repeatedly. Her throat and abdomen was also slit.
“The brutal murder of this child is symptomatic of the challenges we have in the society. We are left in shock and fear by the killing of our children in this province,” she said.
Khoza said communities had a responsibility to end these violent crimes in the province.
“We need to get to the bottom of this as to why people have so much hatred towards the LGBTQIA+ community. We call on all citizens to work with the law enforcement agencies, government and different bodies to end such cruelty,” Khoza said.
She said although the government and different activities continue to fight the scourge of these murders, some communities continue to discriminate against some people based on their sexual orientation.
Cape Town – A black lesbian, living in Khayelitsha, was killed in a suspected homophobic attack after her body was discovered on Friday inside her home at a newly-established informal settlement.
The family of Lulama Mvandaba said they believed she was targeted because of her sexuality. Mvelisi Mvandaba said their elder sister’s death came five months to the day after their mother’s death.
“We ask for privacy at this point and will issue a statement about her death once we have had time to grieve, as, unfortunately, she was murdered due to her sexuality and as a member of the LGBTQI+ community.
“To those who knew her vivacious energy and warmth, we extend our heartfelt condolences to you all.
“We are extremely shocked and traumatised as a family and can only imagine how all the kids she touched during her career will be feeling,” he said.
Mvandaba’s death comes after the murder of several gay and lesbian people across the Western Cape.
May 2021: An aspiring young chef is the latest LGBTIQ+ South African murdered in the heartbreaking wave of hate crime violence gripping the country.
On Monday, MambaOnline received initial reports that a lesbian woman had been killed in Cape Town. On Tuesday, the Daily Sun confirmed the news and stated that the victim was 24-year-old Phelokazi Mqathana.
She was stabbed to death in Khayelitsha, allegedly after she rejected the advances of a man while she was out socialising near her home.
“We heard that the man was touching her bum. When she told him to stop, he stabbed her,” Lelethu Ngalo, a family member told the Daily Sun.
The young woman had recently finished a chef course and was described by Ngalo as a “go-getter who had plans to take this family to another level…”
Lwethu Kala, Chairperson of Free Gender, told MambaOnline that Phelokazi had previously attended various workshops hosted by the organisation which speaks out for black queer women.
“She had very big plans, she was the best sushi chef at her school. She was going places,” said Kala.
Phelokazi’s murder is the eighth known LGBTIQ+ killing in a period of less than three months; a wave of hate that has shocked and terrified South Africa’s queer community.
March 2021: It’s been reported that Nonhlanhla Kunene was raped and murdered in Pietermaritzburg last weekend. According to The Witness, the body of the 37-year-old was discovered near the Edendale Primary School on Friday 5 March.
“When police arrived, they found that the woman was lying flat on her face and was naked from the waist down,” a police spokesperson told the newspaper.
“We are waiting on the post-mortem to give us further information as the police did not find any visible wounds on the victim’s body.”
“It is really sad that hate crimes and gender-based violence are still part of our daily struggle,” said the Pietermaritzburg-based Gay & Lesbian Network (GLN) on Facebook. “We continue to fear for our lives every day.”
While The Witness article did not refer to Kunene’s sexuality or gender identity, GLN Project Coordinator Tracey Sibisi confirmed to MambaOnline that she had been a member of the LGBTIQ community.
“Her friend called the organisation and reported the case and they told us that she was a lesbian,” said Sibisi.
Lauren “Lela” Leslie, an 18 year-old Black lesbian from Bloomfield, Connecticut, was among three killed at the house of her girlfriend early in the morning of Friday, May 28.
Now her older siblings are saying that her murder is connected to her relationship or her sexual orientation.
Leslie was found dead along with Delores Wisdom and her husband, David Wisdom. David is the alleged perpetrator in what police are considering a domestic murder-suicide.
Police received 911 calls after 1 a.m. to the Wisdom household in Windsor Locks and found three people with “no signs of life.” One woman is currently in the hospital, and another teenager — believed to be Leslie’s girlfriend — was found uninjured.
While police have not publicly stated what they believe is the motive, Leslie’s brothers knew that she didn’t always feel “welcome” at her girlfriend’s home and believe she may have been hurt because of that.
An international footballer, coach and aspiring referee, Eudy Simelane dedicated her life to the sport.
She was one of the first openly gay [sic] women to live in her township of Kwa-Thema in South Africa and was a well-known LGBT+ activist.
But because of her sexuality, Simelane was brutally raped and murdered in 2008, aged just 31.
This is the story of her life and how the legacy of her death is still impacting South African society.
A campaigner for equality rights and social change, she was one of the first women to come out as a lesbian in South Africa.
On 27 April 2008, Simelane’s body was found in a stream just a few hundred metres from her home in Kwa-Thema.
Reports stated she was approached after leaving a pub, raped and then stabbed repeatedly.
Despite her death shocking many, activists claimed many lesbians in South Africa were targeted for ‘corrective rape’, a crime where the perpetrator aims to ‘cure’ the victim of their sexuality, converting them to heterosexuality.
Thato Mphuthi pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of Simelane in February 2009 and was sentenced to 32 years in prison. The following September, Themba Mvubu was also found guilty of the crimes and was sentenced to life in prison. When questioned by reporters in court, he responded: “I’m not sorry.”
Simelane’s sexuality put her in a vulnerable position, something her mother recognised, telling the BBC, “the whole of South Africa knew Eudy was a lesbian”.
The unfortunate reality is Simelane’s story isn’t unique – she is one of many victims of similar, horrific crimes in South Africa.
A year prior to her death, Sizakele Sigasa, a women’s and gay rights activist, and her friend Salone Massooa were heckled outside a bar and called ‘tomboys’. The women were then gang-raped, tortured, and shot dead.
Just a few years after Simelane’s murder, Noxolo Nogwaza, a 24-year-old lesbian, was found beaten and stoned to death in the same township Simelane lived.
Tua is a lesbian from Cameroon who finally received her leave to remain in the United Kingdom in 2019.
Tua talks to Sally Jackson about the violent lesbophobia she was subjected to in Cameroon, and how she was forced into a marriage by her mother. During her escape, she was exploited and trafficked to England where she faced the shameful policies of the UK’s Hostile Environment before finding support here. Her asylum claim was finally accepted in 2019 and she has received her leave to remain.
Madeleine Montes Castillo, 48, was killed on September 22 2020 in her business. Two men approached her on a motorcycle and one of them shot her repeatedly, apparently for opposing the illicit sale of narcotics in her area. The victim was transferred to the Reina Catalina Clinic, Baraboa headquarters, where they pronounced her dead.
Three months after the murder, and after the various investigations were completed, last sunday [27 December 2020] the authorities announced the capture of the alleged perpetrators of the crime: the mastermind of her murder, Ángel Fabián Avellaneda Negrete, alias ‘Mello’, owner of “Baraboa Pig”, a business next to Madeleine’s and Emir Rafael Gómez Melo, who allegedly facilitated the transport of the hitmen and helped them escape.
The victim had opposed the sale of narcotics, which lead to an argument with Avellaneda, who apparently hired two hitmen for $10 million to carry out the crime, before they then left the area.
However, the Caribbean Affirmative organization has asked whether the 48-year-old merchant’s murder “could be related to her sexual orientation, since she openly recognized herself as a lesbian.”
Although the possibility that the murder was the result of extortion has been considered, Wilson Castañeda, director of the organization that defends the rights of the LGBTI community, called for the investigation to determine whether or not this crime constituted another case of gender violence.
In the early morning hours of Sunday, August 9 , Cynthia Leslie Velásquez was stabbed after intervening in an argument and defending a girl from a man who was trying to sexually assault her. Chico Leslie – as she called herself and was known in her neighborhood – was a lesbian and died a few hours after the attack, in a hospital in Santiago, with a punctured lung.
So far nobody has been arrested in relation to her stabbing but several witnesses and close friends have pointed to a man known in the community as “El guatón Iván”. Paola says that Leslie had already experienced ongoing problems with him and that when he saw her on the street “he would yell things at her, her appearance, what she was like and that how she looked bothered him”.
Paola states that during the party Iván Poblete tried to assault another young woman and Leslie saw him. “I don’t know the details but I know that after things calmed down, the guy took advantage of the fact that she was not paying attention and attacked her from behind, stabbing her several times. After that, he and another person dragged her from the house and into the street, bleeding and unconscious. Someone asked for help and a group of Haitians arrived, who helped take her to the hospital. They filed a complaint with the Carabineros, but so far nothing has been known about the aggressor and there is still no arrest warrant against him”.
La madrugada del domingo 9 de agosto, Cynthia Leslie Velásquez fue apuñalada después de intervenir en una discusión y defender a una chica de un hombre que intentaba atacarla sexualmente. Chico Leslie -como escogió nombrarse y como la conocían en su barrio- era lesbiana y murió a las pocas horas del ataque, en un hospital de Santiago. Tenía uno de sus pulmones totalmente perforado.
Hasta ahora no hay detenidos por el caso, pero varios testigos y cercanos señalan a un hombre conocido en la comunidad como “El guatón Iván”. Paola dice que Leslie ya había tenido algunos problemas previos con él y que cuando la veía en la calle “le gritaba cosas, le molestaba su aspecto, como era ella y cómo se veía”.
La información que Paola maneja es que durante la fiesta Iván Poblete trató de abusar de otra joven y Leslie lo vio: “Desconozco en detalle cómo fue, pero sé que cuando se calmaron las cosas, el tipo aprovechó que se descuidó y la atacó por la espalda, con varias puñaladas. Luego de eso, él y otra persona la arrastraron desde la casa donde estaba hasta la calle, sangrando e inconsciente. Alguien pidió ayuda y llegó un grupo de haitianos, quienes ayudaron a llevarla al hospital. Ellos hicieron la denuncia ante Carabineros, pero hasta ahora no se sabe nada del agresor y aún no hay orden de detención en su contra”.
Belén Pérez says she has no way to understand the reason for the murder of her daughter. She only knows that Kelly Carolina Pérez Trigos was working on the terrace of her house on Monday afternoon, as she had been for two years, when a man murdered her.
“ They say it was a robbery, but no one tried to rob her. I saw that the murderer arrived with a cap and mask, approached and shot her twice and walked away as if nothing had happened,” said Kelly’s mother, while she was making the arrangements for the delivery of her body to Legal Medicine.
The woman pointed out that the 29-year-old victim had been living on the corner of 60B Street and 13th Street, in the Nuevo Milenio neighborhood, in Soledad for more than 16 years. (Translated)
Belén Pérez dice que no tiene más cabeza para intentar descifrar las causas que desencadenaron el homicidio de su hija. Ella solo sabe que Kelly Carolina Pérez Trigos estaba la tarde del lunes en la terraza de su casa trabajando, como desde hacía dos años, cuando un hombre la asesinó.
“Dicen que fue un atraco, pero a ella nadie intentó robarla. Yo vi que el homicida llegó con gorra y tapabocas, se acercó y le disparó dos veces y se fue caminando como si nada”, relató la mamá de Kelly, mientras realizaba las gestiones para la entrega de su cuerpo en Medicina Legal.
La mujer señaló que la víctima, de 29 años, llevaba más de 16 años residiendo en la calle 60B con la carrera 13, del barrio Nuevo Milenio, en Soledad. (Original)
Four people tried for the murder of Mooinooi same-sex couple Anisha and Joey van Niekerk, who were raped and killed in December 2017, were convicted in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.
Mercia Strydom, 24, Aaron Sithole, 27, his brother Jack Sithole, 21, and Alex Modau, 39, killed the couple before taking their bodies to a nearby river where they were burnt beyond recognition, National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said in a statement.
Their burnt-out car was found in Magaliesburg six days later.
Strydom’s husband, Koos, believed to be the mastermind behind the murders, killed himself last year, News24 reported. He had been found dead in his single cell at Kgosi Mampuru 111 Prison in Pretoria.