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Michigan 20-Year-Old Convicted of First Degree Murder

Premeditation Seen in Killing of 35-Year-Old Gay Male

Semaj Dion Beal to Receive a Mandatory Life Sentence

Compiled by GayToday

hatecrimegay.jpg - 11.52 K Lansing, Michigan--August 31--An Ingham County jury found a 20-year-old man guilty of first degree murder yesterday in the shooting death of a Lansing gay man. Alden Michael Hill, 35, was found in his home last February. He had been dead for at least four days.

Semaj Dion Beal was convicted of pre-meditated murder in the shooting death of Hill, who was targeted because he was gay. Gay activists and Assistant Prosecutor Frank Simone argued that Beal planned to kill and then rob Hill.

Beal faces a mandatory life sentence without parole. Ingham County Circuit County Judge Carolyn Stell presided over the weeklong trial.

"Today there is justice for the family of Al Hill, and for those disgusted when gays are singled-out for brutality and murder," said Sean Kosofsky, Director of Policy and Victim Services for the Triangle Foundation, a statewide civil rights, advocacy and anti-violence organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Michigan.

"The jury repudiated the transparent arguments of self-defense concocted by Beal in his desperate attempt to shift blame to the victim.

"It was a textbook defense strategy to paint the victim as the predator, and the jury discarded it. So-called 'homosexual panic' was rejected along with the cowardly defense."

"Beal alleged that he 'reacted' to Hill's sexual advance by shooting him," said Todd Heywood, a local gay activist who closely followed the case and trial.

"Beal admitted that when he 'reacted' by murdering Hill, that he 'wasn't thinking.' Thanks to this jury, he'll have the rest of his life to think--behind bars."

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:

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Jon Schmitz Convicted Again of Second Degree Murder

Related Sites:
Triangle Foundation

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"The motive for this crime was robbery, but the victim was chosen because he was gay and expressed a sexual interest in Beal," continued Kosofsky.

"No one will ever know the truth about the relationship these men had with each other, because Beal exploited Alden Hill's affection for sadistic and violent motives. Semaj Beal targeted a gay man whom he knew to be romantically interested in him, for a brutal murder and robbery."

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