Homicide victim was previously attacked at gay bar in 2011

AP News
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Posted: Mar 31, 2017 5:43 PM

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A 46-year-old man who was stabbed to death this week in his downtown Madison apartment also was brutally attacked outside a gay bar in 2011 and became an advocate for LGBT victims of hate crimes.

Andrew G. Nesbitt, who was gay, suffered multiple broken bones to his face following the attack on Christmas Eve 2011 in Oshkosh, said Kathy Flores, a statewide anti-violence coordinator for the LGBT advocacy group Diverse & Resilient.

His jaw also was wired shut, and he needed emergency surgery to reduce swelling in his brain, the Wisconsin State Journal (http://bit.ly/2oiB4bO ) reported.

A 23-year-old man has been arrested in Nesbitt's killing, and police are seeking charges of first-degree intentional homicide against the suspect. Police said video from a cab and other surveillance footage led to the arrest.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said he isn't ruling out the possibility the homicide might have been a hate crime.

Flores met Nesbitt for the first time a few weeks after the 2011 attack. She said that as she lamented the hate she saw in the world, Nesbitt told her he still believed love was more powerful than hate.

"I couldn't believe that this victim of a hate crime — just weeks after it happened — expressed hope and love," Flores said. "That was an inspiration to me."

Court records show that Oshkosh residents Jake Immel-Rhode and Lyall Ziebell were convicted of aggravated battery with a hate-crime enhancer for the attack. The 20-year-olds were both sentenced to two years in prison and three years of extended supervision.

Flores said the homicide was a reminder of the dangers many in the LGBT community face.

"The straight community doesn't necessary think about their safety the same way LGBTQ folks do," Flores said. "We constantly have to judge: Is this safe, is this not safe? We get that gut check where someplace doesn't feel safe and it might deter us from going somewhere."

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj