Anti-gay crimes rarely prosecuted in Texas by name
When Ruth Clattenburg found her son inside the apartment they shared off West Bitters Road the morning of February 21, 2010, he'd been dead for hours. Shot execution-style in the back of the head, Troy Martinez Clattenburg, 24, was propped up against a dryer in the hallway between his bedroom and bathroom in boxers and a T-shirt. After frantically notifying neighbors, the mother rushed back to the apartment to cover her son with his favorite blanket, trying to warm the cold body.
When details of the crime first began to surface, Clattenburg's death seemed to be textbook example of murder sparked by anti-gay hate. Cody Carmichael, who was eventually charged, convicted, and sent to prison for the murder, told police Clattenburg made an unwanted pass at him as he and another friend drank and smoked pot inside Clattenburg's apartment. Carmichael told investigators he left, borrowed a black .380-caliber handgun from the friend, and returned to the apartment. When Clattenburg turned his back after opening the door, Carmichael fired a single round. According to an investigator's report, Carmichael told police that Clattenburg "did not see it coming."
Clattenburg's mother never went back inside the apartment after her haunting discovery. And in the two years since the murder relatives of Clattenburg, along with local activists, have criticized authorities for not prosecuting the murder as a hate crime, either at the state or federal level.
Although the family "wanted a hate-crimes charge from day one," as Clattenburg's sister Ginger Hicks put it, the family never got one. "Hate-crimes laws were passed to protect people like my brother Troy, and who are they protecting if nobody's familiar with it and nobody's using it?" Hicks asked.
"It's obviously too late for Troy, but what about preventing other tragedies?"