Another week another hate crime.
Friends and family are mourning the death of 15 year old gay Baltimore student Jason Mattison Jr. who was found dead on November 10. Mattison was raped, gagged with a pillowcase, stabbed repeatedly in the head and throat, and shoved into an upstairs closet of his aunt's home where he was staying after leaving his mother's residence for undisclosed reasons.
Dante Parrish, 35, a longtime family friend has been charged with first degree murder. A Baltimore police spokesman would say only that Jason "was staying at his aunt's house." It was there that Jason met Parrish, with whom the spokesman said the teen had a "forced sexual relationship." Parrish who has a criminal past plead guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting of a Maryland man in March 1999.
From The Baltimore Sun:
Wanda Williams, his paternal grandmother, one of the first Jason confided in about being gay and who handed him a few dollars now and then for food and clothes, questioned how other relatives could have allowed the boy to be in the same house with Parrish, given his violent past.
"I haven't cried so much this entire life," Williams said. "My grandson hollering for help and there is nobody there to help him."
When Jason came out as gay, there was some dissension in the family and though Williams said she stood by her grandson, his declaration caught her off guard.
"I accepted his sexual preferences," she said. "But I told him, 'You're young and don't understand life.' I told him, 'Plenty of young women would love to be with you.' He said he likes boys. Young people don't like to listen to adults, but I told him I'm not going to push him away."
Many of his friends learned of Jason's death from rumors on MySpace. They didn't believe it until they arrived at school and found his chair empty and a somber English teacher to break the tragic news.
Jason was one of the most popular kids at school, his English teacher said, always first to class, always first to the cafeteria, where students fought to sit at his table, always first to turn in his homework and always getting near-perfect grades.
Jason wanted to be a pediatrician. Today he is being buried and will never have the chance to fulfill his dream.