Gillette Death May Lead To Calls For A Hate Crime Law

Mar 16, 2016

Jason Marsden
Credit Matthew Shepard Foundation

The apparent suicide of a 20-year-old Gillette man came after he was bullied for being gay. The family of Trevor O’Brien says his car was vandalized in December and police confirm that an anti-gay slur was painted on his car. 

The fact that these types of incidents continue to occur in Wyoming depresses Jason Marsden. He’s the Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation—and  says it’s time for Wyoming to reconsider a hate crime law.

“In a lot of cases they are this misdemeanor, property destruction, vandalism, things that are lower level crimes that you have to wonder if it would put a tamper on these incidents that can sometimes escalate. You might find out who did this to his car and maybe provide him with a sense of justice as a crime victim.”

Marsden said Wyoming is just one of five states that does not have a hate crime law. He also wants the state to continue efforts to prevent bullying and suicide.  Marsden said a recent bill that would set up a safe call center is a good start, but he isn't sure Wyoming has the resources to make it work like it should.