Scroll To Top

Killer of gay man may have death sentence overturned

Killer of gay man may have death sentence overturned

The death row sentence for a San Francisco man convicted of killing a gay man may be overturned because a gay rights activist was sitting on the jury. Clifford Bolden was convicted in the 1986 fatal stabbing of Henry Michael Pedersen after meeting him at a Castro District bar. Jose Sarria, a female impersonator who became the first openly gay candidate to run for public office in the United States when he sought a position on San Francisco's board of supervisors in 1961, sat on the jury for the case's trial in 1991. The jury recommended the death penalty for Bolden. Bolden has appealed to the state supreme court several times, and earlier this year a lower court was ordered to explore Sarria's role on the jury. Bolden claims Sarria pushed jurors to consider only a death penalty verdict. He also says Sarria never revealed he had personal ties to both the suspect and the victim. One juror has already substantiated those claims. In 1996, Charlia Verna Sessions signed a sworn statement detailing what Sarria told her. Sessions claimed that during bus rides Sarria told her the victim was a good man. Sessions also alleged that Sarria told her he knew the man with whom Bolden was having an affair at the time of the killing. Sarria admitted to the San Francisco Chronicle that he rode the bus with Sessions but denied saying those things. The state attorney general's office says the claims against Sarria are groundless and that the hearing on Sarria's conduct will put the matter to rest. (Sirus/OutQ)

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Outtraveler Staff