Monday, March 23, 2009

Yellow police tape around a dead man's blog

In a case similar to the murder of Larry Ellison, a Brooklyn radio host/newsman has been found dead after missing work.

I did not know George Weber and I am unaware of mutual friends, but the circumstances of his death immediately made me suspect that he was the victim of a bad hook-up. I felt this even before reading the New York Daily News account that included this:

He was found in his bed with several stab wounds in his neck and upper torso, cops said.
Police were investigating the possibility he was killed by a male date.

George Weber had a blog. I explored it, looking for the traits of a gay man. I haven’t yet found any, but reading the blog of a murdered man is unsettling. Like entering the victim’s apartment alone and examining his possessions. The recent entries abrupt and so clearly not what one would hope for as a final life-statement. Like finding a dry kettle on a lit stove, its whistling done for lack of water. Because he is gone, there is an eerie vacancy in the words.

I certainly hope the police have read his blog entry of March 5th in which he speaks of a murder with some similarity to his own. Maybe he had been investigating this murder and had gotten a little too close to its solution.

In any case, we are all again reminded that inviting strangers into the loneliness of one's house is not a jovial manhunt. It is a death wish.


Tater said...

I think we will continue to hear about such crime stories in the near future. The internet is such an easy way to gain access to a victim it seems. People have insulated themselves from the world at large with their gadgets, yet still yearn for human connection. Perhaps the internet has caused us to be rusty in assessing character or malevolence. Perhaps it is just because it is a newer way of meeting strangers, that has created a momentary window of opportunity for predators, until people wise up?

Mark said...

oddly enough, i thought the exact same thing when i heard the news last night.

sad, either way. and way odd reading the blog.

The Milkman said...

Yet another reason why bathhouses and sex clubs serve an important function, even in this supposedly more enlightened and integrated society. These are some of the only places where one can let go of the crushing, deeply fucked-up sexual hangups that are so prevalent in this country. (Or one may use these venues to facilitate a full-throated exclamation of an existing fucked-up sexuality... as with everything, what one reaps is dependent upon what one wishes to sow.) I like the sense of the hunt that sex clubs offer, the sometimes-fraternal atmosphere, and the equalizing knowledge that everyone's there for the same reason. But most of all, I like the fact that anonymous or casual sex can take place without the risk of inviting a total stranger to one's home in the middle of the night.

This sad story is one of literally scores of similar cautionary tales. It's a pity that such an obvious and effective solution (or partial solution) is so frequently and vehemently dismissed by those who are more "respectable" (yawn) than I.

steve said...

Dear Father Tony:

I love your writing. and I remember your postings about Vishara. I hope you would consider doing an entry about cruising safely. I spend alot of my time in Cape May county. We are on the tip of the Cape, and we have no sex club or bookstore available for at least 30 miles. The internet (Craigs list, and Manhunt are the main cruising venues available here. We do have a couple of mixed bars, but if you don't drink the internet is the only game in town. Atlantic City is over 36 miles away, and they only have one bar.

You have pointed out the dangers of cruising online, you've posted about your experiences in sex clubs, and bookstores. I find it kind of odd, because you have taken a rather absolute "do not cruise online" stance on the subject, where you are more generally tolerant, or take a live and let live attitude on sexual matters. I would love to read more of your thoughts on the subject, and your thoughts on safe cruising.

Anonymous said...

Father Tony, I felt the same way when I heard the story. No forced entry is usually a sign that the victim knew,permitted and or was duped ( phony con ed uniform) the perpetrator into his/her residence. With your detective skills I may have to deputize you. I don't know any details put will keep you posted if rumours go my way. I can tell you this, it is a high profile case and will get the serious attention it deserves. Sad, seems like another nice guy taken from his loved ones by pure bad to the bone criminals.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear NowHoldon,
I've been hoping you'd comment on this, and I am relieved that you don't think my suspicions far-fetched. Weber's blog, and his website that seems to have been abandoned in 2003 are very circumspect. His words would not arouse curiosity about his sexual orientation unless the reader were gay and had spent time in the closet, in which case, it's the omissions that speak loudly. Please keep me posted. In Florida, friends of the victim began to contact me. So far, no one has done so in this case. I think he may have not had many gay friends, or, maybe the ones he had are also deeply closeted. They may think they are honoring his memory by remaining silent. Some of them may have important information. They may not trust the police. Maybe they will read this and contact you.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Steve,
Good idea. I may use your comment as the basis of a response in that advice column I do at Bilerico. Thanks.

steve said...

Dear Father Tony:

All this talk of detectives has got me wondering. I wonder if there are more of these cases out there, and no one has connected the dots. What better venue for a killer or killers then a hookup site? The victim opens their home and bed to a stranger. They invite people based on pictures or a physical description. It would be very easy for an attractive guy to be a killer. Before the Internet you had a physical meeting somewhere with the person you were hookingup with. This seemed to be the case with the Larry Ellison murder.
My guess is that most people now meet on the Internet. I would assume that police routinely search a victims computer now, to look to see if the person used the computer to initiate a meeting, One thing that seems to go through these cases is that the crime scene had items stolen, or it was ransacked. I don’t know if this is just paranoia, but I think at the very least Police should be considering the possibility. The problem is how do you make them aware of the issue?

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Steve,
I am absolutely convinced that there are many hook-up murders that never get reported or investigated that way, just as you speculate. Many many reasons for this. Police find the possibility distasteful. Homophobia. Deference to the living relatives etc. etc. But most of all, the cowering gay closeted friends who might have info that would speed the investigation. One interesting mitigating factor. Here in New York (and in Brooklyn) there are many live cameras on many of the streets. On my own block there are at least three.I can't enter or leave without being recorded from angles both flattering and un.I am also quite sure that at least one camera looks into our windows and records us naked and making coffee. I bet the police even see what I watch on TV. But away from a big city, lonely gay men are even more vulnerable. The gay community ought to address this and come up with some model for cruising that can diminish danger without compromising anonymity. Any ideas?

steve said...

Dear Father Tony:

My first thought is that maybe there is technological answer. Maybe a website to register hookups and the information about them. I put a lot of thought into this. I think the easiest, and fastest way to deal with the issue is to let people in the gay community know this is an issue. It would have to be a larger forum than your advice column.
I’ve lived in four communities since I’ve been out and cruising, Philadelphia, Fort Lauderdale, and now far South Jersey. In each of these communities I can remember cases that would fit the profile we seem to be talking about. If I can recall over five cases, there must be dozen if not hundreds more. The best thing to do would be to have multiple gay media outlets do stories about the issue. Maybe the national gay and lesbian Journalists association can send a request for coverage to its members to see if there is a pattern, and even if through anecdotal evidence if we can get a rough idea if this is going on. The best thing to do in this case is shine a light on it.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

All good ideas, Steve. No one city has the franchise on this problem. Let me give you an example of the difficulty. The new Mayor of Fort Lauderdale and I had a long conversation minutes before the polls closed and he was elected. I suggested licensing more venues - sex clubs specifically - that would keep men off the streets and out of public restrooms looking for sex. His response was "Well that's not going to happen". Don't get me wrong. I like him and think he will be a very good mayor, but he knows full well that an elected official can't push through that kind of change even though he may see the merits of it. I think the police need some serious training. They ought to spend time with me between 11PM and 4AM to learn what they are dealing with. To understand the dynamics of gay night life. To see where the danger lies. I could show them how drunken lonely men behave at 2AM when they are most vulnerable. How they compromise their lives. Meanwhile your idea about information dissemination is very good. Need to think more about this.

Anonymous said...

if a person decides to get that fucked up and irrational it's not the policeman's fault if a bad decision is made. babysitting a lonely drugged out queen isn't something i'd want the cops doing. and not every queen wants to write about sex. besides this fellow was irish, catholic and homosexual so who knows how much shit and guilt he had to deal with. to his friends and family my condolences.

hugs not drugs,
chubby hubby

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Chubby Hubby,
I don't think I'm asking the police to baby sit. I am asking them to understand the nightlife in which crimes are committed. I am asking them to learn the language of the people who can help solve those crimes. I am asking them not to deliver inferior service to a group of their constituents who may make them feel uncomfortable. Some cops understand this, and do a great job. You should have heard the comments that came out of the mouths of some of the security guards (off duty police) in front of Roseland at the Black Party at 1PM on Sunday. Tired after a long night of "putting up " with the gays, they were verbally releasing their inner feelings. Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly pro-gay. They don't get paid to love the Gay, but they do get paid to provide excellent supportive service, and that means setting aside personal preferences and understanding the community they serve. Some need a lot more training. Some are already there.

Tater said...

Many of the younger cops are already there, and though surprising, many my age are there as well. I know several Chicago police officers (one of my best friends from college is a straight, Chicago Cop) and they are respectful in the way they deal with our community. That is not to say, however, that what comes out of their mouths is very nice most of the time. They hate on everybody equally, and tend to only truly respect and trust one another. Perhaps all that on the job stress dealing with the public, cements that fraternity of blue. I have heard every form of political incorrectness, gallows humor, racist and sexist dialog at some of their parties, but I think it is more attributable to PTSS than an underlying prejudice (in some but not all cases).

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Good point, Tater. They need that "fraternity of the Blue" thing to make them successful. I don't begrudge them that (and the homophobia that is its glaze) but I would uyrge them to learn the dialect of the communities they serve.

David's Shadow said...

I'm not sure, but I think there have been discussions of this sort since the early 90s when people were meeting in AOL chatrooms. The first rule as I recall was meet first in a public place. I would think a killer wouldn't want to be seen in public with his victim in this age of cameras everywhere. It's a small deterrent, but for the deeply closeted, it's better than meeting first (and last) at the crime scene. Like condoms in the early stages of the AIDS epidemic, how do we get the message out effectively to the hard to reach closeted gay man?

Btw, is it really the case that a New Yorker with so much available to him in the gay world would live a life that deeply closeted? In West Texas, maybe, but New York City?

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear David's Shadow,
I think we get the message out by telling these stories in their explicit horrific detail. The closeted man cruising for sex needs to identify with the victim all the way to knifepoint.

To answer your final question, Mr. Weber was a public figure, a radio personality. I am guessing he made a professional decision regarding his closet. I should remind you that at this time we are still only speculating as to his orientation.

Anonymous said...

This is an update.
Brooklyn South Homicide Detectives have this case.

"Blood was found throughout the ransacked apartment, but investigators think some of it belonged to the killer, believed to be a date Weber picked up Friday night, sources said."

Some Facts about the investigation.
1. Reports indicate a man on a cell phone was present. As such a subpoena will be made to the phone company to get Weber's records. If the Killer used a "boost" phone pay as u go no records will be found.

2. Police were called the nite before the killing, as such the 911 caller will be interviewed.
( as well as friends, co workers, etc)

3. The defensive wounds on Mr. Weber indicate he fought back, blood evidence will be secured, and hopefully DNA will catch the offender.

4. As a general rule Homicide detectives are very diligent, and in any investigation " love", romance, past and present relationships, ( straight 8 or gay) are always thoroughly examined). In addition in New York, once a suspect is identified the DA office is involved in the case . As such in New York, gay murders are not ignored, in fact quite the opposite as many advocacy groups ( anti defamation, GLBT anti violence groups) actually work with us to get the killer(s).

5. I had a case years ago a man told me about a man with a gun at a local Harlem gay bar. Turned out the man ( African American Flight Attendant) picked up a hustler ( gay for pay) who he let into his life. Than a month later robbed him blind, forged his checks, and you know the rest). But stories like this some times are not reported because of fear of a trial.

Father Tony your the expert on guilt and shame.

P.S. Unlike other states NYPD and NYS don't permit officers to perform security for any premise serving alcohol. So if "cops" were at the parties you mentioned they were in violation of the law.

Anonymous said...


Blood was found throughout the ransacked apartment, but investigators think some of it belonged to the killer, believed to be a date Weber picked up Friday night, sources said.

Facts not Fiction, nor assumptions.

1. Police responded earlier in the night. As such another person called 911 and will be interviewed and may have a description of the killer, and or car.

2. If the killer had a cell phone, and called Mr. Weber, a subpoena will get the phone company records. ( unless he had a pay as u go " boost Phone.

3.As Mr. Weber fought back DNA of the killer may be present. ( If the killer's DNA is on record, they may identify him.

4.The NYPD does not " dump" homicide investigation, they get serious attention and we don't discriminate because of race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation. There is great pressure to get the killer.

5. As we communicate great efforts are being made including communicating with Mr. Weber's family, friends, associates, co- workers neighbors etc to garnish all information possible.

6. A large percentage of all Homicides involve " relationships" that sour, black, white, gay, past and present. However, a stabbing as here with repeated wounds indicates extreme violence and is often present in relationships that take a tragic turn to extreme brutal homicide.

P.S. All groups including cops " stick together" it's called trade secrets, from cops, retailers, politicians,and the gay community. This week 4 cops in Oakland were killed, it's not an easy job and we are far from perfect.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear NowHoldOn,
Thanks very much for the update.
The security guards I mentioned were on the sidewalk in front of the building. Is this a technicality that would have allowed an off-duty officer to be among them?

Anonymous said...

Father Tony, I was not there so I can't be 100 % certain. Correction Officer's are permitted to do this type of security, so they could be law enforcement. And yes there have been " play for pay" cops as bouncers so who knows we do have bad apples. ( sorry for the duplicate post, i thought the first didn't go through).
Hope u r well.

Jeff said...

Having lived in Milwaukee in the era of Jeff Dahmer, I believe that this happens every day and is largely undetected.

In Milwaukee, a serial killer was able to function undetected because no one was looking for the gay men that vanished- remember back then, the police were called to his home and gave back a drugged naked victim for him to finish murdering (it was a fifteen year old boy, no less).

And while we have made progress, we haven't made nearly enough. The idea of a "check in site" makes excellent sense, especially for we who live alone.