Accused New Orleans assailant targeted gays
September 04 2003 12:00 AM ET
The man accused of stabbing another man in New Orleans during last weekend's predominantly gay Southern Decadence festival has admitted to police that he wanted to kill a gay man, The Times-Picayune reports. According to police, the victim, a 53-year-old Pennsylvania man who was stabbed in the back Saturday night with a five-inch steak knife as he walked along the 400 block
of Bourbon Street, is in good condition but has not said whether he was there for the festival.
The alleged assailant, Tod W. Martinek, 53, is being held in lieu of $200,000 bond and charged with attempted first-degree murder and a felony hate crime. Martinek made a video confession that "he wanted to kill a gay man, but we don't know if the victim is gay," said eighth district police captain Louis
Dabdoub. Martinek's next hearing before a magistrate judge is scheduled for October 31.
According to the director of a group home at which Martinek stayed briefly, he once signed "KKK" into a church attendance book and was described as confused but not violent. Martinek showed no signs of violent behavior while living in the group home, which is for people with mental health problems, said the director, who did not want to be identified. She said Martinek lived at the home for two days and left weeks ago. In the interim police returned him to the home, saying a complaint had been made by a neighborhood church that he was signing the attendance book with "KKK," she said.
This year's Southern Decadence festival, an annual celebration of gay culture, was protested by the Reverend Grant Storms of Christian Conservatives for Reform. Storms told The Times-Picayune Tuesday that Martinek is not affiliated with his group, which had "nothing whatsoever" to do with the stabbing. "I don't know who the man is," said Storms, who said some city officials are "selling our streets to public sex" to make money through tourism. Storms said some members of the media, businesspeople, and gay activists are slandering him to "destroy the movement," which is "rising up" in the name of the Lord "to take our city back." As for people who imply that he knows Martinek, Storms said, "We have lawyers looking into if some of that is not defamation of character" against himself. Storms, who was cited by police during the festival after he allegedly got into a shoving match with a barroom security person, said he is "flat-out denying the battery charges" and will hold a press conference about the charges on Thursday at 8 a.m. outside the Criminal Court Building, where he is to face a judge on the charges. Storms said he has received calls to appear on national talk and news shows such as The O'Reilly Factor. "This is going national," he said.