Was an emotionally disturbed and deeply closeted gay sailor behind the brutal killing of Seaman August Provost III, the black gay sailor found murdered at Camp Pendleton near San Diego on June 30th? The slain sailor's aunt comes forward and says her nephew’s killer is gay and feared being outed by Provost, reports the Dallas Voice.
Rose Roy, of Beaumont, the sister of Provost’s father, said in a phone interview Tuesday, July 14 that she’s “not at liberty” to identify the source who provided the information to the family. But Roy said the source told the family Provost had a heated argument with the suspect a week before his murder, and that the sailor now being held as a person of interest by the Navy has a history of mental illness.
"This guy went the extra mile to make sure that my nephew would never be able to speak about his [the killer’s] sexuality," Roy said. "My nephew died for reasons other than what the military is saying."
Neither Provost’s other family members nor his partner, identified as Kaether Cordero of Houston, could be reached for comment this week.
The person of interest being held identified by the Navy and has not yet been charged with any crime.
The new theory departs from previous claims made by Rose Roy and other family members that Provost’s murder was an anti-gay hate crime. Provost reportedly told numerous family members he was harassed and ostracized at Pendleton for at least a year because he was gay and black. Under the military's failed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, if Provost reported the homophobic harassment, that would have been considered "telling" and lead to immediate discharge,
The 29-year-old Provost was discovered in a guard shack on the morning of June 30, shot three times, apparently gagged and bound, and his body burned. The Navy says the torture, shooting and burning was not related to the victim's sexuality and was a "random act" of violence. The Navy reportedly did not initially tell the family this was a homicide and neglected to reveal the manner of death.
The military "investigation" raises more questions than answers, says Rep. Bob Filner (D) of suburban San Diego, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Filner tells the Dallas Voice: "They keep saying they know it’s not a hate crime, but they don’t give me enough information for me to agree with that or not. If they don’t do it right, we will have an independent congressional inquiry."
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee—who has a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign—represents Houston and Provost's family. Jackson Lee says she will demand a congressional inquiry into the case. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and the National Black Justice Coalition and are also monitoring the case.
Under military rules, the person of interest can be held without charges indefinitely. Will we ever learn who killed August Provost and why?