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Man uses ‘gay panic defense’ in murder of Jamaican fashion designer

Man uses ‘gay panic defense’ in murder of Jamaican fashion designer

a man with short dark hair, with rainbow paint down his face

The charges of a man who allegedly killed a LGBTI icon have been dropped to manslaughter after claiming the ‘gay panic defense’.

Romario Brown allegedly stabbed gay fashion designer, Dexter Pottinger, 25 times on 29 August, 2018.

On 10 April he plead guilty to manslaughter. He claimed he acted in self-defense because Pottinger allegedly came to him ‘naked and aroused’.

Brown told police Pottinger had posted bail for him just days before his death and that they had gone back to his apartment. They planned to discuss how Pottinger could help him get his tattoo business off the ground.

Brown alleged that he did not know Pottinger was gay.  He claimed Pottinger had come into the room without any clothes on.

The man used ‘provocation’ by the victim as a means to get his charges reduced from murder to manslaughter. Gay panic defense is a legal argument to justify an assault or murder against someone because of unwanted same-sex advances. The defense has been abolished in many countries around the world, but still exists in some.

Brown also pleaded guilty to larceny charges after Pottinger’s TV, a watch and car were missing from his property.

He is due for sentencing on 24 May, according to Jamaica Star.

Jamaica

The Caribbean nation of Jamaica has been described as one of the most homophobic places in the world. Male same-sex activity is illegal there and the LGBTI community faces extreme levels of violence and discrimination.

‘LGBT Jamaicans are vulnerable to both physical and sexual violence and many live in constant fear,’ a 2014 Human Rights Watch report said.

Pottinger was a beloved figure in the LGBTI community and named the 2016 Face of Pride.

‘[Pottinger] was a gay man that gave back to his country and did a lot to raise the profile of it, as well as help young people wanting to develop a career in fashion get on the road to doing so,’ a friend who wished to remain anonymous said at the time of his death.