08 June 2013

Jury Acquits Texas Man For Murder Of Escort Who Refused Sex 6JUN13

THIS is just another reason why I could never live in Texas. I was just in Texas last week and met a lot of really cool people, but the state is fully of people like those of this jury, and I just don't want any of them as my neighbors and be subject to their sick and twisted concepts of justice. This is a disgrace, and the good people of Texas should be ashamed, and the Texas A.G. should issue a ruling clarifying the law so no woman, and no person, can be shot and killed for refusing to have sex. 
A jury in Texas just acquitted a man who shot and killed a woman for refusing to have sex with him. No one should ever fear for their lives when saying no to sex. Will you sign the petition to Texas Attorney General Abbott asking him to clarify that nobody should be killed for refusing sex?
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A court in Texas just exonerated a man who shot and killed a woman who had refused to have sex with him. She's dead, and he will serve no time at all.1
We have to speak up to make sure this never happens again anywhere in the U.S.
Here’s what happened: Ezekiel Gilbert shot and killed a Craigslist escort after she left without having sex with him. His lawyer argued that since he had paid her $150 for the evening, he was justified under Texas law in shooting her because state law allows people “to use deadly force to recover property during a nighttime theft."2
The precedent this case sets is dangerous. A woman is NEVER required to have sex with a man if she doesn't want to. Ever.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott can issue an opinion clarifying that nobody can be shot for refusing to have sex. As the state’s chief legal official, his opinion will influence elected and legal officials.3 In Texas and across the country, making this clear is incredibly important to saving lives in the future.
Yesterday's verdict has generated a national firestorm of headlines that are making their way across social media. If we can focus the national spotlight on Abbott, the pressure could force him to act. Will you sign the petition asking AG Abbott to clarify that women always have the right to say no to sex, no matter the circumstances?
It’s horrifying that we have to clarify that a woman’s consent is hers to give, regardless of the circumstances. But if we don’t speak out, this sexist mentality and its sad results will only continue.
This story has already gotten the attention of national blogs. Both Gawker and Think Progress have written about the jury’s decision.4 Local Texas outlets are also seeing lots of online outrage. Commenters at My San Antonio have weighed in saying things like “I don't even know what to say, I'm speechless. That's not what this law is in place for” and "this is not the Bexar County I want to live in, where women can be murdered for not giving someone the sex they believe they're owed."5
We can make sure this doesn’t happen again. We need AG Abbott to speak out and issue an opinion making it perfectly clear that nobody should be killed for refusing sex, no matter what the circumstances.
Thanks for speaking out.
--Nita, Shaunna, Kat, Malinda and Karin, the UltraViolet team
1. Jury acquits escort shooter, My San Antonio, June 5, 2013
2. Ibid.
3. About Attorney General Opinions, Attorney General of Texas, March 1, 2012
5. Jury acquits escort shooter: Comments, My San Antonio, January 6, 2013

Jury Acquits Texas Man For Murder Of Escort Who Refused Sex

 By Nicole Flatow on Jun 6, 2013 at 4:15 pm
A Texas jury acquitted a man for the murder of a woman he hired as an escort, after his lawyers claimed he was authorized to use deadly force because she refused sex.
Ezekiel Gilbert shot Lenora Ivie Frago in the neck on Christmas Eve, after she denied his requests for sex and wouldn’t return the $150 he had paid her, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Under Texas law, an individual is authorized to use deadly force to “retrieve stolen property at night,” and Gilbert’s lawyers cited that provision as justification for Gilbert’s action, reasoning that Frago had stolen $150 from him by taking his money without delivering sex. In a police interview played for jurors, Gilbert “never mentioned anything about theft,” a detective told the San Antonio Express-News. Frago, who was 21, was critically injured and died several months later.
While the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida has generated notoriety for NRA-backed Stand Your Ground laws, which authorize the unfettered use of deadly force without a duty to retreat in defense of one’s person or home, Texas’ exceedingly broad law goes well beyond this, to allow deadly force in protection of any piece of “tangible” or “movable” property.
The Texas provision authorizes deadly force not only to “retrieve stolen property at night” but also during “criminal mischief in the nighttime” and even to prevent someone who is fleeing immediately after a theft during the night or a burglary or robbery, so long as the individual “reasonably” thinks the property cannot be protected by other means.
This shockingly broad statute authorizes individuals to take not just law enforcement, but punishment, into their own hands and impose death for alleged offenses that would never warrant the death penalty even if the person were convicted in court. But even in light of the expansive vigilante justice made legal by the statute, it is difficult to see how Gilbert’s behavior was justified, given that escorts are not entitled to deliver sex under the law, and delivering sex for money is an illegal transaction.