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‘We don't know why they killed him'

By Devona Walker Modified: November 25, 2007 at 2:36 am •  Published: November 25, 2007
ey are not doing it just as an attack against the victim, but to terrorize a whole segment of our community.”

It's been nearly a decade since the brutal beating death of Matthew Shepherd, and still policy regarding hate crimes based on sexual orientation is ambiguous at best, he said.

Matthew Shepherd was a college student in Laramie, Wyo., whose murder in October 1998 became one of the most infamous examples of a hate crime in recent history.

Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson met Shepherd at a gay bar in Laramie.

They drove Shepherd to an open field, tied him to a fence, then beat him.

Shepherd died some days later in a Fort Collins, Colo., hospital.

"I certainly hope that it is not the case that people in this country are not still shocked to hear about these crimes,” Luna said. "We may have our different views, but I think everyone would agree no one deserves to get beaten up and killed.”

For Luna, there is a clear connection between the environment and the crime — in places where people are prone to be in the closet, there is a higher risk of violence.

"It's extremely troubling and unfortunate that in this day and age there are still environments where people still feel that kind of hostility, where they can't be honest about who they are,” Luna said.

If Domer was in the closet because of fear, it makes his fate even more heart-wrenching.

"It shows us he had ample reason for that fear,” Luna said.

Mort Domer, the brother of the victim, refused to discuss sexual orientation.

"He was very, very private,” Mort Domer said. "I didn't even know any of his friends.”

Mort Domer said the bottom line is his brother is dead, and that his family has spread his ashes according to his wishes.

Tape and wires discovered
According to an affidavit filed by an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent, police searched the home of Darrell Madden for evidence in Domer's death.

They recovered burned wires and duct tape from the home.

Domer was bound with duct tape and strangled with a wire hanger, the agent said.

Madden has not been publicly identified as a suspect in the case.

The crime has not been classified as a hate crime. Oklahoma City police turned over their case to the district attorney's office last week but no charges have been filed.

"We have a suspect in the case, but we have not identified who that suspect is,” said Oklahoma City Police Department spokesman Gary Knight.

Madden's public MySpace page was deleted Monday evening.

It contained numerous photos of him and swastika-tattooed young white men with bald heads, and he referred to them as his Aryan brothers.

Madden boasted on the site about killing a woman, assaulting people and burning things.

In a blog posted two days after Domer's disappearance, Madden wrote that he "cannot repeat any of the things we did” in the past few days and "it might well be the juice in the needle that kills me. Know what I said?”

In the OSBI agent's affidavit, a witness describes the two men Domer was seen with as Madden and Bradley Qualls.

Madden is being held in Carter County on a first-degree murder charge, accused of gunning down Qualls, a fellow skinhead gang member and the likely accomplice in the Domer case.

"The bottom line is we don't know why they killed him. Until we know the motive, it would be premature to sit around and talk about it,” Knight said.

Domer's body was found in a ravine within three miles of his car.

His car was found one day after his disappearance. It had been burned.

Police said they are not investigating any case in Oklahoma City similar to the killing of the young woman Madden wrote about on his Web page.

"I think about it every night. How can I not think about it?”

Jimmy Hill, one of about a half dozen private security guards who patrol the city's gay district, said about Steven Domer's disappearance has disabled the comments for this article.