Zachary Stirewalt
Gay Man Charged With Murder in Alabama

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com December 03 2012 7:01 PM ET

A young gay man from North Carolina has been charged with fatally shooting a man he had been staying with in Alabama.

Zachary Stirewalt, 21, originally from Cary, N.C., was arrested Saturday and charged with murder, The News & Observer of Raleigh reports. He had been staying in a mobile home in Montgomery, Ala., with Daniel Turman, 43. Turman was dead when police arrived at the trailer Saturday morning, having been shot several times.

Police said Turman had opened his residence to Stirewalt because the latter had recently left home and had no place to live. An honor student and former Eagle Scout, Stirewalt had been studying technical photography at Appalachian State University in North Carolina until last summer. He interned at a photo studio in New York City during the summer and chronicled his urban adventures, which included a visit to the Stonewall Inn, on his blog, SassyGayHippie.tumblr.com.

Natalie Hayes, who manages the studio where Stirewalt interned, described him as “very helpful, very responsible” and “a people-sweet person.” Of the shooting, she told The News & Observer, “I can only imagine that he did it in self-defense and that was his only option.”

Police have not made any public statements about a possible motive for the shooting. Stirewalt was being held at the Montgomery County jail, under suicide watch.