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05 January 2010


Baron D

It was more than gay panic.
That piece of trade had gay sex and that's what freaked him out. He was embarassed about what happened.


Griffin wouldn't be the first Marine to have homosexual tendencies. I can personally think of about ten.

Hypermasculine situations such as the service, sports and street gangs tend to attract men who in many ways are overcompensating, including closeted and latent gays.

Whatever happened was consensual. I'm very sorry to hear that it possibly happened in front of the girlfriend. This sounds more like regret and embarrassment. Oh and the police were told specifically and in graphic detail what allegedly happened, trust.

Nathan James

Bloomington Police Lt. David Drake told ABCNews.com today that police 'really don't know' if the incident on Christmas Day was consensual or not.

Is Lt. Drake suggesting that the Blooomington police are actually buying into Griffin's "gay panic" nonsense? In other words, Griffin has already created substantial doubt in the minds of investigators as to what transpired between him and Prof. Belton. I don't hold out much hope that a jury will see through Griffin's "defense", if the cops are already making statements like this in the media, but we'll see.


I don't want to be the one to say this, but unfortunately Don Belton's sexual life will come out and it will not be pretty. A brilliant mind, yes. But he actively sought "rough trade" white boys and group scenes and his friends knew this. And that is what this is starting to sound like.

RIP Don Belton. A brilliant mind cut short by low rent trailer park trash.


sounds like the police are opening the door to that defense


"I don't want to be the one to say this, but unfortunately Don Belton's sexual life will come out and it will not be pretty. A brilliant mind, yes. But he actively sought "rough trade" white boys and group scenes and his friends knew this." ...Rahsaan

Exactly what I was trying to suggest in a post in another thread about this about people not knowing what goes on in the private lives of people they know. Again, what happened to this man was horrible and certainly didn't warrant murder, but for people to act totally clueless as to the possibility of this man having engaged in these kinds of activities just didn't make sense. Just a tragedy all around.

Derrick from Philly


Some of the most humorous conversations between Don and me here in Philly (as it is often between two older gays) WAS our LACK of sex lives. Now, unless things changed drastically out in Indiana where Don had even less time for those kind of "extracurricular" activities--I find all these accusations ridiculous...but of course the Indiana media and police didn't know Don. Hopefully, his friends and colleagues will speak up.

Derrick from Philly

Oh, and believe me, Don hated "rough trade" and couldn't understand why some queens and gay men crave them (one of his "reads" toward me). Beleive me this Griffen mudda' fudda' had to put on a real sensitive James Dean "hurt puppy" performance for Don to let him in his life.


I still find it AMAZING how heteros think they understand homosexuality, in the sense of what our likes, dislikes, etc.. We all do not want a guy, because he is a guy, and most of us aren't aggressive towards someone who is in question with their own sexuality. And actually that BS about someone getting their crotch and butt touched is total bs. Its really upsetting that this Gay Panic defense has been used and no one is making an effort to see through it.

I guess we should start a Straight Panic defense and start wiping out the breeders, like when straight men come to a gay club to hit on lesbians, they should be shot on-sight! In her defense, she can use the Straight defense and get off scott free!!


@ Derrick:

It sounds like you knew Don well. Sorry that you think that was an "accusation". I only met him a few times through my cousin who was a student of his at Temple. And yes, he was discussed his preference for tradey white boys, role playing, etc. Maybe the trade he read you about was black? Maybe that explains it.

Regardless of the color of the man and regardless of the scene...Prof Belton did not deserve to die, he did not deserve to be killed. And no matter what happened, I do not believe for a second that Don Belton attacked, assaulted or forced himself on anyone.

As if that would be reason to kill him, as someone suggested in another thread (ahem)...

Derrick from Philly


I realize that you and Ron were telling us what strategy the defense might use and that was your purpose.

I can't deny that in a "playful" conversation Don may have led other gay folks to believe that he had the kind of predilections you remember. But I always interpreted that attraction to "roughness" to be more about appearance & personal style--an aversion to the "pretty boy" look (which he may have perceived as the gay preference). Don didn't want any man getting physically rough, nor would he.

But if you met him a number of times, Rahsaan, you must admit that the idea of Don being aggressive is downright silly.

The issue here is not our old friend's sex life; the issue is that this sexually dishonest maniac came to Don's house with a 10 inch army knife. He came to kill. But as you say, what will a prosecutor do, and what will a jury believe? Right now, I'm just interested in what the Rod 2.0 Family believes.

Rodney M.

We have to be careful here that we don't fall into the trap of "blaming the victim" or otherwise suggesting that Don somehow brought his death upon himself. Even if what has been said about Don's sexual life is true, and regardless of our own personal tastes (white, trade boys or not) this is still a tragedy, and a fate that Don did not "deserve" or "might have had coming to him."

And as for the "gay panic defense": I wonder if this is being used solely to spare Griffin the death penalty. I noticed in this thread that when the panic was used (even recently) that the assailants received a sentence muchlighter than they deserved.


@ Rodney M:

Re-read what I said. I didn't blame Don Belton for anything and specificaly said he "didn't deserve to die." And I also said quote: "And no matter what happened, I do not believe for a second that Don Belton attacked, assaulted or forced himself on anyone. As if that would be reason to kill him, as someone suggested in another thread "

Some of you all get too bent out of shape about the discussion around Don Belton (or black gay men in general) and sex. Sorry, but this is an integral part of the discussion. It will come out what was said or what happened, and if they were supposed witnesses, what they saw or heard.

As far as blaming the victim, that's an insult, I was very loud in another post where a commenter blamed Don. Perhaps some of you have your own issues in this department, but everytime someone mentions the victim's personal life they are NOT blaming him.


E in Evansville

these gay panic defenses make me angrier and angrier...

i thought some states made them illegal?

oh and you can be sure that indiana outside of indianapolis is not extremely gay friendly, but thankfully college towns like bloomington and evansville are very diverse.

i never met don belton and wish i had. sounds like he was quite the scholar and gentleman.


So, let's get this straight--ish. The older gay man assaulted the marine...TWICE? He then left and RETURNED to him to get an apology and when the older gay man would not apologize...THEN THE GAY PANIC KICKED IN?!

I am so sick of the demonization of gay men being allowed to portray us as BOTH the effeminate fey who isn't man enough to handle anyone AND the aggressive sexual predator who grabs delicate body parts on men strong enough to kill us but not strong enough to defend themselves!

THIS ISH IS RIDICULOUS!!!! Let me get my happy behind down to Trenton on Thursday so we can pass this bill so I can find me a husband and we can buy a home and I can go there and be loved and be safe. OTHERWISE, I might catch a case in 2010 at the rate these gay panic defenses are just popping out of any and everywhere!

Rodney M.

@ Rahsaan:

Please reread what I said. I actually wasn't singling you out, because other folks made a point of referencing Don's sexual proclivities, and as you even noted, others were making a judgment about Don based on what he likes.

And as for the discussion on sex: while sex is a topic here, the real issue here is how tragic, deadly and dangerous internalized homophobia can be. Someone with obvious unresolved issues regarding his sexuality has not only chosen to commit murder, but is also using an absurd defense that, unfortunately, might allow him to not answer for his crime because of other people's homophobia (and racism -- doesn't this smack of a white woman who accuses "rape" of a Black man, even though we later find out there was none?)


Someone who takes a hunting knife looking for an apology ain't hunting for an apology.

That said, this Griffin person seems to have a premeditated murder on his hands:
1) Takes knife to "conversation"
2) Assaulted once, and came back for MORE (2 assaults allegedly)
3) Griffin 6 feet tall/ 220 lbs.
4) Belton 5 feet 8-10in/140-160
5) Marine trained in combat recently
6) Belton trained at Quaker school as youngster in non-violence and continued that philosophy throughout his life
7) Girlfriend turns Griffin in because she knows what happened was murder and refuses to be named as an accomplice (my take on this, not police)
8) Griffin assumes "gay panic" defense will work which is why he did not plead guilty, yet confessed to murder
9) Belton's diary paints picture of beginnings of romantic relationship. Police has not said what else it says. Does it contain sexual interludes? This is how Belton will "speak from the grave" if allowed as evidence. One with a non-violent upbringing does not paint assault as a romantic pairing. The question would be what else was in the diary that could work for or against Belton. So be aware of what you write and leave behind, because it could ruin your life and reputatiion or save it
10) There's an air of cockiness in someone who kills, admits it, then acts as if all the evidence will be wiped away by simply saying "He was GAY and I panicked. Yes, I could pick him up with one hand and throw to the side, but didn't. Yes, he's slight in frame and weight and I'm bigger, stronger, half his age, trained in combat, and brought a knife with me, but he's GAY!!".

Xavier Deron

Preach, Diva. Preach!
Murder is murder! You don't ask for an "apology" with a knife. And I think you are right about the girlfriend. She didnt want to have anything to do with that business.

Oh and hi Ron! :)
Still blaming the victim like you were in the post about the vigil?


I am so sick and tried of thee's down low homosexuals always saying that a gay person made sexual advances to them and killing someone over it. Man the hell up and walk away.Would a woman say that a Straight Man made romantic/sexual advance at her that's why she killed him. Grow the hell up people.

Chitown Kev

Thank you Rod for all of your coverage and thank you commenters for discussing difficult issues in a respectful manner.

Interesting that they noted that these defense DID NOT work in Wyoming and Michigan (I believe that was the Jenny Jones murder). While this IS Indiana, it is interesting that the "gay panic" defense was more successful in those liberal meccas NYC and DC.

Derrick, friend, take care of yourself.

John Ozed

Thanks Diva1961 for mentioning Belton's diary regarding someone named Michael. I thought but don't know that this was the 'Michael' he wrote about. It's an effed up situation nonetheless. Whether or not he liked rough trade, black or white or whatever, he did not deserve to be murdered.


I held off on commenting about this senseless and unjustified murder because I was more interested in reading through the comments. I just had to acknowledge Diva1961 for her spot-on comment. She broke it down perfectly. That marine went looking for a dead body and he created one. Thanks Diva for putting the right spin on this horrible tragedy.


Diva1961: You've said all that needs to be said on this topic. Still, though this 'Gay Panic' defense is basic illogical and thoroughly evil, it might work. It's amazing what a good defense attorney can make a gullible and prejudiced jury believe. I hope it doesn't work this time.


A. People who are famous or well known are as freaky and messed up as the rest of us.

B. What is it about being gay that would cause anyone/all of us to PANIC???

There's hella worse than being gay.

A murderer for one.


The "gay panic" defense is no different than defense lawyers who attempt to portray rape victims as sexually loose and suggestive. Over the years, that particular strategy against rape victims has become less effective due to the public's awareness of the crime of rape. Gay panic will only work because the public is still ignorant and hold homophobic views about homosexuality. I certainly hope the prosecution vigorously pursue the views of potential jurors concerning homosexuality when they hand out the questionnaires. They certainly have their work cut out for them.

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