Boston Globe Online
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/101/nation/Hate_crimes_law_cited_in_pair_s_slaying+.shtml
Hate crimes law cited in pair's slaying

Md. man targeted them as lesbians, Ashcroft charges

By Wayne Washington, Globe Staff, 4/11/2002

WASHINGTON - The US Justice Department invoked the federal hate crimes statute yesterday for the first time in a case involving the murder of gay victims, charging a Maryland man with the deaths of two young New England women killed while camping in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia in 1996.

Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, appearing at a press conference after meeting with the victims' families, said that Darrell David Rice of Columbia, Md., had been charged with killing Julianne Marie Williams, 24, of Burlington, Vt., and Laura S. ''Lollie'' Winans, 26, of Unity, Maine.

Rice acted out of hate for women and gays, the attorney general said.

''Criminal acts of hate run counter to what is best in America, our belief in equality and freedom,'' Ashcroft said. ''The Department of Justice will aggressively investigate, prosecute, and punish criminal acts of violence and vigilantism motivated by hate and intolerance.''

In announcing the indictment, Ashcroft spoke at length about his meeting with the parents and about the lives and character of the victims: two Midwesterners who migrated to New England, met and became lovers, and shared a love of science and the outdoors.

''I struggled to express the deep sadness that we feel for the great loss of these families,'' Ashcroft said. ''Julianne Marie and Lollie Winans were young women who loved life and cherished every single day.''

Rice, already in prison for assaulting and attempting to abduct a female cyclist in the park more than a year after the Williams-Winans killings, could face the death penalty if convicted of the double murder.

The bodies of the two women were found just off the Appalachian Trail at a creekside campsite on June 1, 1996. They were bound, and their throats were cut. Rice allegedly told authorities that they ''deserved to die because they were lesbian [expletives].''

The federal hate crimes sentencing law authorizes a stiffer punishment for federal offenses proven to be hate crimes. Some advocates said the fact the law has rarely been applied in a case involving sexual orientation shows a need for Congress to pass legislation expanding protection for gay Americans.

The current law applies in cases in which people have been targeted because of their race, sex, or national origin as they participated in federally protected actions like attending a public school or voting or in cases in which a federal crime has been alleged. The Williams-Winans killings fall into the second category, because the victims were murdered on federal property and Rice was allegedly motivated by his hatred.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, has filed legislation that would establish a broader federal hate crimes law, in which crimes against people targeted because of their race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability would also be federal offenses if prosecutors can prove that a firearm was used or the victim was transported across state lines or if local prosecutors decline to ''satisfy the national interest'' of affording equal protection.

George W. Bush was criticized as a presidential candidate for not pushing hate crimes legislation, and his administration has come under similar criticism. Asked yesterday whether Rice's indictment will move the Justice Department closer to supporting broader hate crimes legislation, Ashcroft said only that hate crimes legislation filed in Congress is ''under review.''

''Pending the outcome of that review, we would make an announcement if we chose to support the legislation,'' the attorney general said.

Kennedy praised the indictment in a statement he released yesterday.

''The fact remains, however, if Julianne Marie Williams and Laura Winans had been murdered outside of Shenandoah National Park, the Justice Department would not be able to prosecute the case as a hate crime,'' Kennedy said. ''Until Attorney General Ashcroft supports the hate crimes legislation pending before Congress, his promise to aggressively prosecute hate crimes is an empty promise.''

Given the limits of the law, it is unclear what practical effect Ashcroft's decision will have. Rice, charged with premeditated murder, could have faced the death penalty even if the guidelines were not used.

But Betsy Gressler, director of public affairs for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said the Justice Department's move has important symbolic value.

''There is certainly a value to identifying it and calling it what it is,'' Gressler said. ''It's a crime against a group of people. It causes gay people everywhere to take pause, because there are people out there who hate gays.''

FBI figures show that hate crimes against gays and lesbians increased by 17 percent from 1995 to 2000, the last year for which statistics were available.

In the assault case for which Rice has been jailed, he screamed sexual references to the female cyclist, tried to force her into his truck, and then tried to run her over when she resisted, prosecutors said. He plead guilty to attempted abduction and was sentenced to 136 months in prison.

This story ran on page A2 of the Boston Globe on 4/11/2002.
Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

CNN.Com News

http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/04/10/shenandoah.killings/

Man indicted in '96 slayings of hikers in Virginia

Ashcroft calls killings of 2 women 'hate crimes'

April 10, 2002

From Terry Frieden
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Nearly six years after the bodies of two women were found with their throats slashed in Shenandoah National Park in the Virginia mountains, an incarcerated Maryland man has been indicted on charges of capital murder and a hate crime in their slayings.

With the victims' fathers looking on, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced Wednesday that a federal grand jury in Charlottesville, Virginia, has indicted Darrell David Rice of Columbia, Maryland, in the 1996 slayings of hikers Julianne Marie Williams, 24, and Laura "Lollie" Winans, 26.

Rice is serving an 11-year sentence in federal prison in Petersburg, Virginia, for attempting to abduct and kill a female bicyclist in the same park in 1997.

Ashcroft called the killings of Williams and Winans "hate crimes" and said Rice could receive the death penalty.

"He intentionally selected his victims because of his hatred of women and homosexuals," Ashcroft said at a Justice Department press conference.

Rice stated "that he hates gays" and that the victims "deserved to die because they were lesbian ...," according to a court document submitted by federal prosecutors.

The document also said the government will prove Rice "intentionally selected women to intimidate and assault 'because they are more vulnerable than men.' "

The killings are believed to have occurred sometime between May 24 and June 1, 1996, according to the indictment.

John Winans of Boca Raton, Florida, father of "Lollie" Winans, said he learned of the break in the case from federal agents about two weeks ago.

"I just had to be here today," Winans said after Ashcroft's announcement.

The father of Julianne Williams, Tom Williams of St. Cloud, Minnesota, expressed strong support for the FBI and National Park Service, which had investigated the case for several years.

"We never gave up hope," Williams said.

Both fathers said they support the death penalty for Rice if he is found guilty in the slayings.

A prosecutor involved in the case said Rice, who is in his middle 30s, last worked as a computer programmer for a now-defunct company in Maryland.

The indictment said Rice intentionally selected his targets "because of the actual or perceived gender or sexual orientation" of the women.

A prosecutor predicted the case will be tried next year.

Ashcroft said the Justice Department will vigorously prosecute hate crimes.

"The volatile, poisonous mixture of hatred and violence will not go unchallenged in the American system of justice," he said.

By invoking the hate crimes enhancements in federal sentencing guidelines, he said that the Justice Department is making clear "our commitment to seek every prosecutorial advantage ... to secure justice for victims like Julianne Marie Williams and Lollie Winans."

Ashcroft did not say whether he would support a hate crime bill before Congress that extends legal protection to homosexuals.

"The pending hate crime legislation in Congress is under review in the Justice Department at this time," Ashcroft said. "We're inclined to prosecute hate crimes like this one."

Ashcroft met with family members of the two victims earlier Wednesday.

"Julianne Marie Williams and Lollie Winans were young women who loved life and cherished every single day," Ashcroft said.

Winans was a graduate of Unity College in Maine, was a lover of the outdoors and had planned to become a park guide, Ashcroft said.

Williams was an honors graduate of Carleton College in Minnesota, was interested in geology and helped migrant workers and abused families, he said.

Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-041102hikers.story

Inmate Indicted in Hate-Crime Deaths
Law: Prosecutors say the man, jailed in Virginia in an unrelated assault case, targeted the two female hikers in 1996 because he believed they were gay.

 
 
 Photos
 
Virginia inmate Darrell David Rice was indicted in women's deaths by federal grand jury.
 
Virginia inmate Darrell David Rice was indicted in women's deaths by federal grand jury.
(AP)

Apr 10, 2002
 
The parents of Julianne Marie Williams, 24, said they prefer to focus on the memory of her 
life.
 
The parents of Julianne Marie Williams, 24, said they prefer to focus on the memory of her life.
(AP)
 
Laura S. Winans, 26, had been setting up a program to help the victims of sexual abuse.
 
Laura S. Winans, 26, had been setting up a program to help the victims of sexual abuse.
(AP)
 
 
   
By ROBERT L. JACKSON, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- With the filing of federal capital murder charges, law enforcement authorities said Wednesday that they had solved one of the nation's most egregious hate crimes against gays--the slayings of two young women in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia nearly six years ago.

The deaths of Julianne Marie Williams, 24, and Laura S. Winans, 26, attracted national attention because the two women were lesbians and their bodies were found just off the Appalachian Trail, one of the most popular hiking destinations in the country.

Darrell David Rice, a Virginia prison inmate already serving time for an unrelated assault and attempted abduction of a female bicyclist in the same park, was indicted in their deaths by a federal grand jury.

Prosecutors said Rice, 34, had targeted the two hikers because he believed that they were gay. Their bodies were found June 1, 1996, beside their tent in a secluded campsite about half a mile off the trail. Their throats were slashed and their hands bound.

Rice told fellow prisoners months ago that he "hates gays" and intentionally selected women to attack "because they are more vulnerable than men," authorities said. Since then, authorities said they have built a case against Rice by collecting physical and other evidence.

Prosecutors also quoted Rice as saying that Williams and Winans "deserved to die because they were lesbian."

If convicted, he could receive the death penalty.

"It's been a long and tedious investigation," said Lawrence Berry, a spokesman for the Richmond, Va., FBI field office, which investigated the slayings with the National Park Service. "We're certainly pleased it has resulted in an indictment."

Case 'a Sad Reminder' of Violence, Group Says

The case was heard by a federal grand jury because the slayings took place in a national park.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which had urged a full investigation of the slayings in 1996, expressed relief at "closure" of the case but said it was "a sad reminder" of the pervasiveness of violence against gays.

Overall, reports of hate crimes against lesbians have increased in recent years, according to FBI statistics, from 146 incidents in 1995 to 181 in 2000--a 24% increase.

Williams' parents, Tom and Patsy Williams of St. Cloud, Minn., said they were "grateful that a suspect has been apprehended and indicted." They said, however, that they prefer to focus on the memory of their daughter's life.

The women, both experienced hikers, had worked as interns for Woodswomen Inc., a Minneapolis-based group providing outdoor adventure and education programs for women.

Williams had graduated summa cum laude from Carleton College in Minnesota, and Winans was finishing a degree at Unity College in Maine. Friends said Winans had been developing a program to help victims of sexual abuse find healing in the outdoors.

Attorney General Announces Indictment

Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft, who announced Rice's indictment, said that the women's slayings denied the world their budding talents, "which would have been substantial."

"These families have suffered what Americans now know all too well--the pain and destruction wrought by hate," Ashcroft told a news conference.

"The volatile, poisonous mixture of hatred and violence will not go unchallenged in the American system of justice," Ashcroft said after meeting with relatives of the victims.

Rice, an inmate in the federal prison in Petersburg, Va., was charged in a four-count indictment with capital murder and with "intentionally selecting and murdering the two young women because of his hatred of women and homosexuals."

U.S. Atty. John L. Brownlee of the Western District of Virginia said the slayings were "part of an ongoing plan, scheme or modus operandi to assault, intimidate, injure and kill women because of their gender."

After his arrest in the 1997 case for which Rice is now serving time, investigators discovered hand and leg restraints in his truck similar to those found on the hikers' bodies.

Officials declined Wednesday to discuss why the case had not been solved sooner.

As officials tracked down more than 15,000 tips and leads in the hikers' case, Rice made relevant comments in prison that "indicated that he may have been involved," Brownlee said.

Officials said they also had evidence of Rice's "numerous physical and verbal assaults upon randomly selected women, including . . . acts of road rage, physical assaults, demeaning sexual comments and threats of injury and death."
Copyright 2002 Los Angeles Times
 
Boston.Com
 
U.S. announces indictment of man in hate-crime slaying of two female hikers in Virginia
By Laurie Kellman, Associated Press, 4/10/2002 17:52
 
WASHINGTON (AP) Six years and 15,000 tips after the murder of two women near the Appalachian Trail sent a chill through hikers everywhere, federal prosecutors say they have the killer and will prosecute the case as a hate crime.

Darrell David Rice of Columbia, Md., was indicted for the 1996 slayings of Julianne Williams and Laura ''Lollie'' Winans, the Justice Department announced Wednesday. Already jailed on an unrelated kidnapping charge, Rice told authorities the women ''deserved to die because they were lesbian (expletives),'' according to prosecution documents filed in court.

The bodies of Williams, 24, of St. Cloud, Minn., and Winans, 26, of Unity, Maine, were found bound and gagged June 1, 1996, at a creek-side campsite in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park, about a half-mile off the Appalachian Trail. Their throats had been cut.

Williams' parents, Tom and Patsy Williams, of St. Cloud, Minn., said, ''We are grateful that a suspect has been apprehended and indicted, but our focus has been and will continue to be on the life of our daughter.''

Attorney General John Ashcroft, who met with the women's families Wednesday, said the murders denied the world their budding talents, ''which would have been substantial.''

''These families have suffered what Americans now know all too well that's the pain and destruction wrought by hate,'' Ashcroft said at the news conference. ''Hatred is the enemy of justice, regardless of its source. We will not rest until justice is done for Julianne Marie Williams and for Lollie Winans.''

At a federal prison in Petersburg, Va., according to court papers filed by the government, Rice said he intentionally picked women to assault ''because they are more vulnerable than men.''

Prosecutors also said in the papers that Rice ''hates gays.''

The Human Rights Campaign, a national gay and lesbian organization, praised the Justice Department. ''With this indictment, the federal government has recognized the horrendous nature of this hate crime and that it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,'' said political director Winnie Stachelberg.

Rice, 34, was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday in Charlottesville, Va., the indictment announced Wednesday in Washington.

Federal authorities had automatic jurisdiction in the case because the slayings took place on U.S. government land. A federal hate-crimes law covers crimes motivated by race and religion, but not sex or sexual orientation. An effort to add those categories failed two years ago.

The Justice Department was able to push for a hate-crimes type of indictment in this case, however, because comments Rice allegedly made in prison indicate he selected the women ''because of the actual or perceived gender or sexual orientation'' of his victims.

Rice was charged with four counts of capital murder:

One count for each murder on the basis of Rice's motivation, which allows prosecutors to introduce more evidence than a straight murder charge.

One conventional murder charge for each woman's death in case the ''hate crime'' charges are rejected by a jury, department officials said. Conviction on any of the charges could bring Rice the death penalty.

The murders were not Rice's first offenses against women, according to the government's court documents.

Prosecutors said they will present evidence that ''the defendant's killing of the two women was part of an ongoing plan, scheme or modus operandi to assault, intimidate, injure and kill women because of their gender,'' according to court filings.

Rice has been held in jail in Charlottesville since 1998, after he pleaded guilty to an unrelated abduction charge in which he was accused of verbally and physically assaulting a female bicyclist in the Shenandoah National Park a year earlier. She avoided being forced into his truck, so he ''tried to kill her'' by running her over, authorities charged. Investigators later discovered hand and leg restraints in Rice's vehicle. He was sentenced to 136 months in prison on that conviction, according to court filings.

It was there, as investigators pursued more than 15,000 leads and contacts in the Williams and Winans murders, that Rice made comments relevant to the case, authorities said.

Some of the tips came after investigators contacted hikers who had used the trail around the same time as Winans and Williams and signed trail logs along the way.

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