It is 20th century anniversary of the murder of Nicholas West. In November of 1993, West, a 23-year-old openly gay East Texas man, was kidnapped and murdered. His death made national headlines and sparked rallies and protests.
"You're not born to hate, you're taught to hate and society has to take responsibility for that," said Wesley Beard.
Beard was in his early twenties when he learned of West's murder, an East Texas man he said he would see from time to time at Bergfeld Park.
"Back in the early 90's at the time of the murder of Nicholas West, Bergfeld Park was one of the few meeting places in the close-knit gay and lesbian community that people knew to meet. We all shared and expressed our struggles with coming out," Beard said.
That is where in November of 1993, three men kidnapped West, robbed him, beat him and drove him to a remote location where they shot him multiple times.
"I felt it was open hunting season on gays and lesbians and that these people must be held accountable," Beard said.
As did thousands of protestors who filled Bergfeld Park in the days following West's murder.
"From their own video tape confessions, they bragged. They said it was Friday night football and Saturday night gay bashing," Beard said.
Beard is referring to statements like this one from Earl Dunn Junior:
"Did you have a problem with homosexuals before you ran into this guy?" asked officials.
"Yeah, I never liked them," Dunn replied.
"Definitely the West family grieves, there's an empty chair every Thanksgiving, every Christmas. That will never go away, that pain and that hurt for the West family, it will never go away. And for the Aldrich family and for the Dunn family, there also was a price to pay," Beard said.
Both Henry Earl Dunn Jr. and Donald Aldrich were charged with capital murder and executed.
The third man, David McMillan, is serving out a life sentence.
Sunday, August 31 2014 3:31 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:31:29 GMT
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