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Stoning Victim Not Gay, Says Brother

Stoning Victim Not Gay, Says Brother


Murray Seidman, a 70-year-old Philadelphia man who was reportedly killed by John Joe Thomas after an unwanted sexual advance, was not gay, says his brother.

Lenny Seidman, 69, tells NBC Philadelphia that Murray was mentally challenged and that money was the motive for his death, not gay panic or religious zealotry. "Murray wasn't gay," Lenny says. "If anything, my brother was asexual. He didn't have the capacity to have deep feelings in a sexual way."

Thomas allegedly told police he had killed Murray with a sock full of rocks because the Old Testament instructed that homosexuals should be stoned to death. But Murray's brother believes Thomas "is cleverly framing his defense. [Thomas was] a manipulative coward who wanted to cash in on Murray's retirement funds."

According to Lenny, Murray and Thomas, 28, became friends after meeting at the Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital, where Murray worked and where Thomas was a patient. The two enjoyed playing miniature golf, bowling, and going to the gym together. Thomas even convinced Murray, who was born Jewish, to be baptized in the Mormon Church, which Lenny initially thought was a good thing: "They were in two different congregations and the people in his church welcomed him and cared about him."

But then Lenny began to notice that Murray was always footing the bill for the pair's adventures. And when Murray, who had the mental capacity of a second-grader, called his brother to say he wanted to give Thomas power of attorney, Lenny had mixed feelings. "On one hand, I was grateful and happy Murray had a friend, but on the other hand he seemed a little off. He had this extreme evangelical thing, and why would a 28-year-old befriend a 70-year-old?"

After Thomas obtained a debit card in both his and Murray's name, Lenny says he confronted Thomas. But Thomas responded that Murray was generously sharing his money and wasn't expecting to be paid any of it back. Lenny says he was furious, but didn't want to alienate his brother by telling him what to do.

"I was not my brother's keeper; he wanted to be able to do his own thing," says Lenny. "I could only suggest to him that friends don't take your money.

Murray's body was found January 12. Thomas, who is being held on murder charges, has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday.

Read the full story here.

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