Originally published on Advocate.com November 25 2003 1:00 AM ET
The suspect in the stabbing death of a 15-year-old lesbian at a bus stop in Newark. N.J., earlier this year has been indicted on murder and bias charges. An Essex County grand jury returned an indictment Friday charging Richard McCullough, 29, of Newark, with murder, bias intimidation, four counts of
aggravated assault, and weapons charges. If convicted on all charges, McCullough faces up to 118 years in prison.
Sakia Gunn was stabbed to death May 11 at a bus stop at Broad and Market streets after a night out in Manhattan, when she told a man who approached her that she and her friends were lesbians. Gunn's stabbing has been labeled a bias incident by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office after witnesses said that a man made sexual overtures toward friends of Gunn's before Gunn told him that she and the other girls were gay. Valencia Bailey, 16, a lesbian who was so close to Gunn that they called each other cousins, said McCullough grabbed Gunn. She broke loose, then McCullough lunged and stabbed her in the chest.
After the murder, approximately 2,500 mourners, many of them black and Hispanic teenagers, attended Gunn's funeral, an event that some said revealed the city's large but largely overlooked young gay and lesbian population. The killing outraged lesbians and gays, who held rallies in Newark, New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C.