There is an update to the tragic murder of Don Belton, the distinguished Black gay writer and beloved Indiana University professor who was brutally stabbed to death in December 2009. Michael J. Griffin, the 26-year-old former Marine who admitted to killing the English professor, has plead not guilty and claimed the slender, 53-year-old academic "sexually assaulted" him.
A Monroe County Circuit Court jury late Thursday found Michael Griffin guilty of murder, deciding that he intended to kill Don Belton when he stabbed him 22 times in December 2009. The verdict came after about 12 hours of deliberations. The 26-year-old faces 45 to 65 years in prison when sentenced.
Griffin testified Wednesday that he didn't remember stabbing the 53-year-old Belton. Jurors could have convicted him of the lesser voluntary manslaughter if they found the killing was committed in the heat of anger.
The body of Don Belton was discovered on December 28 2009. Griffin told investigators Belton sexually assaulted him twice on Christmas Day in front of his girlfriend. Griffrin claimed he returned two days later seeking an "apology."
In 2010, it appeared that Griffin was building a "gay panic" defense. Bloomington Police told ABCNews.com that police 'really don't know' if the incident on Christmas Day was consensual or not.
Prior to arriving at IU Bloomington in 2008, Belton formerly taught at the University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania and lectured at the Sorbonne, among other places. Belton also wrote for Newsweek and The Advocate and edited Speak My Name, an critically-acclaimed anthology of essays on black masculinity.