November 21, 2002

Woman Murdered After Reportedly Witnessing to Homosexual
By Bob Kellogg, correspondent for Family News in Focus

A killing in Chicago last week could turn "hate crimes" laws on their head.

A brutal murder in Chicago last week highlights the double standard surrounding hate crimes. A homosexual killed a woman that was trying to witness to him. Will authorities call the killing a hate crime and will the media report it in the same way they did the Matthew Shepard murder?

Nineteen-year-old Nicholas Gutierrez is charged with first degree murder in the slaying of 51-year-old Mary Stachowicz. He allegedly beat, stabbed and hid her body in his apartment after she told him God would not approve of his lifestyle. The two were co-workers. Gutierrez allegedly has said he was enraged because it reminded him of heated debates with his mother. Relatives say Stachowicz was probably trying to help.

Peter LaBarbera, of Concerned Women for America, was pointed in his response to this crime.

"This woman, Mary Stachowicz, was killed evidently because she was sharing the truth about homosexuality to a gay activist," LaBarbera said. "We will be waiting to see, now, if the media treats this case like it treated the Matthew Shepard case."

So far it has not. Laura Montgomery, of Soulforce - a gay-activist organization - seemed to avoid the hate crime aspect of the incident.

"Our understanding of the Bible in no way condemns sexual orientation or the love that two people of the same sex feel towards one another," Montgomery said.

But, when pressed, Montgomery grudgingly said she might consider this murder a hate crime.

"If it was directed at this person and intended to intimidate Christians, that would be a hate crime in my mind," Montgomery said.

For LaBarbera, this murder was blatantly a hate crime.

"It's going to be hard for people to say this is not an anti-Christian hate crime committed by a homosexual activist. But I fully expect the media to not pay a lot of attention to this case."

Prosecutors say they are considering the death penalty for Gutierrez.

The Cook County State's Attorney's office says since Gutierrez is being charged with murder, a hate crime charge would be irrelevant.

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