Scroll To Top

Two men charged
with hate killing in Florida

Two men charged
with hate killing in Florida


Two men made their first appearance in a Bartow, Fla., courtroom Sunday morning, where they were charged with the hate-crime killing of Ryan Keith Skipper, a 25-year-old gay man.

Two men have been charged with a hate crime in the fatal stabbing of a gay man in Bartow, Fla. According to The Ledger, a central Florida newspaper, Joseph Bearden, 21, and William David Brown, 20, made their first appearance in a Bartow courtroom Sunday morning and were charged with the death of Ryan Keith Skipper.

The victim was found on the side of a dirt road in Wahneta, Fla., his body riddled with 20 stab wounds. Police initially told the press that the case was being investigated as a robbery homicide because Skipper's car and computer had been stolen. However, a witness came forward who reported that the two defendants had told several people that they murdered Skipper because he had made sexual advances toward Brown, leading officials to believe that the murder could have been a hate crime.

According to police reports, Skipper was driving around Wahneta on March 13 at approximately 11 p.m. when he encountered Bearden. Bearden took a ride with Skipper and went back to his house, where they allegedly discussed using Skipper's computer for fraudulent activity. The two left the residence and went to Brown's home, where the suspects and Skipper left in his car. The two allegedly attacked Skipper inside his car, and his body was abandoned on the side of the road. The suspects then reportedly drove to another home where they discarded items from the car, then made a stop to another location where they attempted to clean the vehicle.

A source for the sheriff's narcotics unit called in to report witnessing Brown and Bearden attempting to clean out the car, according to the article.

The vehicle was found Wednesday on a dock near Lake Pansy in Winter Haven, where Brown's fingerprints were discovered.

They were arrested Friday afternoon. While both Bearden and Brown have admitted to some details, they have not confessed to murder.

According to The Ledger, neither Brown nor Bearden had violent crimes on their criminal record. (The Advocate)

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

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Outtraveler Staff