Friday, January 11, 2008
R.I.P. Brent Martin
Brent Martin was 23 years old when his body was found next to a parked car. Mr. Martin had been beaten to death by three men – one 21 years old, one 17 years old, and one 16 years old. On the surface this seems like just another story of violence reported by a newspaper in any large city. But there is a difference in this story.
Brent was a person with an intellectual disability. He was out for a walk in the community. He was spotted by the three young men, and the 17 year old bet the 16 year old money that he couldn't take Brent down with a single punch. Both boys were trained as boxers, and their victim was repeatedly punched, kicked, stomped on and head butted. The 21 year old and the 16 year old have already admitted to Brent’s murder, and the trial for the 17 year old began this week and that 17 year old is quoted as saying “I am not going down for a muppet."
Although the autopsy showed that Brent never lifted a finger or fought back against his assailants, it did reveal that he died from a massive head injury and had suffered at least 18 separate blows to the head and neck.
This makes me sick to my stomach, even more so because this crime happened last August. Why didn’t we hear about it? Why wasn’t it reported on the news programs like the death of Matthew Shephard, the young man who was killed because he was gay? Did Brent’s disability make him so unimportant that his brutal death did not even deserve a mention? Prejudice against disability is every bit as unacceptable as racism, sexism and homophobia. Ignoring Brent’s death is even more unacceptable.
Click here for a media story on the trial.