DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript FUAH Works - Fred C. Martinez Jr. ~ Cortez, CO

Fred C. Martinez Jr. ~ Cortez, CO

In an earlier era, FC Martinez would have been revered.

Instead, sixteen year old FC was murdered in a brutal hate crime in June 1991.


June 2011: Two Spirits, the documentary, is a powerful film about the brutal murder of Fred Martinez, about a time when the world wasn't simply divided into male and female, and about the place of honor in many Native American cultures for people across a spectrum of sexuality and gender expression. It premiered on November 21, 2009 in Denver, Colorado; and screened on Independent Lens on 140 PBS stations from June 14-29, 2011. It is a production of Say Yes Quickly Productions, Henry Ansbacher, executive producer; Riding the Tiger Productions, Lydia Nibley, director, co-producer, and co-writer; and Just Media, Inc., Russell Martin, co-producer and co-writer -- with Darrin Navarro, editor; David A. Armstrong, director of photography; and Ron Eng, supervising sound editor and sound designer.



Responses to the film:

"Riveting." ~ LA Weekly

"A gorgeous, moving, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting story, the kind of film that opens the mind and heart so wide they can never close as tightly again." ~ Martha Beck, Oprah magazine columnist and bestselling author

"TWO SPIRITS is a beautiful film, one that poignantly conveys the pain that Paula Mitchell suffered when she lost her child to hate violence. Fred Martinez was murdered simply because he dared to be himself, and the violence against young people like him must stop. We will never be the society we hope to be until we replace hate with understanding, compassion, and acceptance. This very powerful film is an important step on that journey." ~ Judy Shepard, President of The Matthew Shepard Foundation

"A rich and textured work that provides a focal point for many important conversations on campus. It's very moving to see the reactions, and the appreciation of so many people who feel that a deep aspect of their reality has been acknowledged and valued." ~ Ann Braude, Director of the Women's Studies in Religion Program and Senior Lecturer on American Religious History, Harvard Divinity School



Facebook: TWO SPIRITS: Sexuality, Gender, and the Murder of Fred Martinez

Additional Resources from the producers of Two Spirits ~ books & other films

Discussion Guide on TWO SPRITS - from PBS Independent Lens (pdf file)

And more:

Hate Crimes, Media and Two Spirits - October 26, 2009 - by Gail Binkly, Editor, Four Corners Free Press - posted on Huffington Post.

A boy remembered: Transgender teen’s death 10 years ago remains a motivation for education about gender diversity
by Emery Cowan - Durango Herald, Durango, CO - June 11, 2011

Retelling Racialized Violence, Remaking White Innocence: The Politics of Interlocking Oppressions in Transgender Day of Remembrance
by Sarah Lamble | Published in Sexuality Research and Social Policy 2008

Starting at a beginning:

Note: Contact phone numbers and email addresses on this page have mostly been taken off 2001 press releases as they are probably out of date.  



CONTACT: Kathy Keyes, Board Chair, Four Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity
Alan Cook, Psychotherapist, Director, C.A.R.S.
John Peters-Campbell, Cortez Board Member, Four Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity
Terry Helm, Counselor, Montezuma-Cortez High School
Betsy Stephens, President, PFLAG Durango Chapter
Denise de Percin, Executive Director, Colorado Anti Violence Project


July 5, 2001...The Montezuma County and Cortez law enforcement agencies issued a press release this morning stating that a suspect, Shaun Murphy of Farmington, NM, has been arrested in the murder case of Fred Martinez Jr. Martinez, a 16 year old openly gay, Navajo man from Cortez, Colorado, who was found on June 21 south of Cortez, Colorado. The apparent cause of his death was blunt trauma and exposure. Details of the events surrounding Mr. Murphy's arrest were not released and Sheriff Joey Chavez has not ruled out the possibility that this murder was bias motivated.

"Four Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity (4cGLAD) and the members of the Cortez and Four Corners GLBT community are grateful and relieved to know that a suspect is in police custody, " said Kathy Keyes, Board Chair of 4cGLAD . "While we still do not know if Fred was a target because of his race or his sexual orientation, we continue to support law enforcement in their efforts to resolve this case and we commend Montezuma County and Cortez law enforcement continued vigilance is pursuing the possibility of Fred's murder being motivated by bias or hate."

In January of 2000, Montezuma County and Cortez law enforcement secured hate crimes training for their officers. They have maintained open lines of communication with the local GLBT community.

"We ask all citizens of Colorado to join us in our efforts to extend the protections outlined in the Ethnic Intimidation Act to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) citizens of Colorado," continued Keyes. "Whatever is determined to be the motivation behind the murder of Fred Martinez Jr., the specter of hate crimes associated with this case pointedly reminds us that members of the GLBT community continue to be targets of violence born of hate, ignorance and fear."

Betsy Stephens, President, PFLAG Durango/Four Corners said, "Durango/Four Corners PFLAG and national PFLAG representatives have been in contact with Pauline Mitchell and have offered support for the family members during this difficult time." An account has been set up for the family to help off-set funeral expenses. Donations can be sent to Citizen's State Bank of Cortez, PO Box T, Cortez, CO 81321. Checks should be written to Citizen's State Bank of Cortez with Fred Martinez, Jr. Memorial Fund in the memo field.


GLAAD News Pop

July 5, 2001


Two weeks after the body of openly gay 16-year-old Navajo high school student Fred Martinez was discovered near Cortez, Colo., the Montezuma [Colo.] County Sheriff's office today announced the arrest of Shaun Murphy, 18, of Farmington, N.M., in the ongoing homicide investigation.

Reports from the sheriff's office and local media outlets indicate that Martinez, a Montezuma-Cortez High School freshman who disappeared on June 16, was bludgeoned with a blunt object and died from that beating and possibly from exposure. On July 2, the sheriff's office declared Martinez's death a homicide and has been investigating the crime in conjunction with the the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Cortez Police Department, the Farmington, N.M. Police Department, and the San Juan County Sheriff's Office in New Mexico.

While Martinez's murder has not officially been declared a hate crime, the sheriff's office has not ruled out the possibility that he was targeted for violence because of his sexual orientation, gender identity or race.

The Four Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity (4CGLAD), in coalition with the Colorado Anti-Violence Program (CAVP), the Durango, Colo., PFLAG chapter and others, is working to provide assistance and support to investigators, the media, and the local LGBT community.

"Four Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity and the members of the Cortez and Four Corners GLBT community are grateful and relieved to know that a suspect is in police custody, " said Kathy Keyes, Board Chair of 4cGLAD, in a statement released today. "While we still do not know if Fred Martinez was a target because of his race or his sexual orientation, we continue to support law enforcement in their efforts to resolve this case and we commend Montezuma County and Cortez law enforcement continued vigilance is pursuing the possibility of Fred's murder being motivated by bias or hate."


Four Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity (4cGLAD)
Kathy Keyes, Board Chair



Kathy Keyes, Board Chair, Four Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity (970) 264-0051
Alan Cook, Psychotherapist, Director, C.A.R.S. (970) 565-4100
John Peters-Campbell, Cortez Board Member, Four Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity (970) 564-0665
Terry Helm, Counselor, Montezuma-Cortez High School (970) 562-2629
Denise de Percin, Executive Director, Colorado Anti Violence Project (303) 839-5204, (720) 270-1368


On June 21, the body of Fred Martinez, a 16 year old openly gay Montezuma-Cortez High School student, was found south of Cortez, Colorado, apparently the victim of blunt trauma and exposure. Montezuma County and Cortez law enforcement agencies are investigating the death, considering the possibility that Fred was attacked because of
his sexual orientation. Law enforcement is examining evidence to determine whether or not this was a hate crime.

The Four Corners gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) community joins with the citizens of Cortez in mourning the loss of Fred Martinez, and offer to his family, friends and community our condolences. Fred was a model for us in his ability to express his individuality despite the pressures of convention, while garnering the
love of many around him.

As members of the GLBT community, we respond to the murder of Fred with the concern that his attack may have been a hate motivated crime. We appreciate that Montezuma County law enforcement is investigating Fred's
death with bias against homosexuals as a possible motive, despite the lack of hate crimes legislation inclusive of the GLBT community in Colorado. We support them in their efforts to solve this case in their process.

We ask all citizens of Colorado to join us in our efforts to extend the protections enumerated in the Ethnic Intimidation Act to the GLBT citizens of Colorado. Whatever is determined to be the motivation behind the murder of Fred Martinez, the specter of hate crimes associated with this case pointedly reminds us that members of the GLBT
community continue to be targets of violence born of hate, ignorance and fear. What we desire most is that the community at large stand with us to make it clear that hate crimes against us will not be tolerated.


PFLAG Durango/Four Corners is involved in supporting the family. The contact person for that chapter is Betsy Stephens, Chapter President. Contact information for her is:


July 5, 2001

Denise de Percin, Executive Director
Carter Klenk, Director

Colorado Anti-Violence Program Applauds Apprehension of Suspect in Murder of Fred Martinez, Jr.

The Colorado Anti-Violence Program today applauded law enforcement in Montezuma County, CO and San Juan County, NM, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, for their cooperative efforts to apprehend those responsible for the murder of Fred Martinez, Jr. in Cortez, Colorado.

"Today's announcement by law enforcement that they have arrested a suspect provides a small measure of relief to all the communities affected by the murder, and also sends a clear signal that law enforcement has followed through on their commitment to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Four Corner's area and throughout Colorado," said Denise de Percin, Executive Director. "Of course we still have concerns about whether the crime was motivated by any type of bias," she continued, "but we have renewed confidence that the investigation will eventually be able to address these questions."

Although Colorado has no hate crime legislation, the Federal Hate Crime Statistics Act does require the FBI to collect statistics from each state. However, state compliance is voluntary and effective documentation depends on a number of factors, including whether the state has passed hate crimes legislation that requires training for law enforcement and the development of mandates and protocols for reporting. The Campus Right to Know Act requires colleges to collect information on certain types of crimes, including hate crimes based on sexual orientation, and make that information publicly available.

The Colorado Anti-Violence Program documented 120 incidents of violence targeted at lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and hiv+ people statewide in 2000, while the FBI reported only 26 incidents based on sexual orientation in Colorado during the same period.

"In a state that provides no civil rights or hate crimes protections for LGBT people, there are huge barriers to reporting violence to police," according to Carter Klenk Colorado Anti-Violence Program Director. "This highlights the need for community-based organizations, such as the CAVP, that the community trusts to provide services, document violence, and, in some cases, be a conduit for reporting to law enforcement."

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) documented a 38% increase in anti-LGBT violence directed against people who describe themselves as heterosexual in 2000. "Anti-LGBT-violence effects all of our communities because of its prevalence and wide-spread social sanction," emphasized Klenk. "School-based studies compiled by the Washington Safe Schools Coalition indicate that for every LGB student who is targeted for anti-gay violence or harassment, four heterosexual students are also targeted."

The tragedy of Fred Martinez's murder reinforces the unfortunate reality that bias-motivated violence can and does occur everywhere. It emphasizes the need for training and education for law enforcement, community organizations, and schools to increase the understanding and safety of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Inquiries concerning the local community response and information that has been made available to the LGBT community should be directed to Kathy Keyes, (970.264.0051/Pagosa Springs) or John Peters-Campbell (970.564.0665/Cortez). Donations to help defray costs that the family has incurred may be sent to Citizen's State Bank of Cortez, PO Box T, Cortez, CO 81321, with Fred Martinez Jr. Memorial Fund in the memo line.

For fourteen years the Colorado Anti-Violence Program has been dedicated to eliminating violence within and against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LBGT) communities in Colorado, and providing the highest quality services to survivors. The CAVP provides direct client services including crisis intervention, information, and referrals for LGBT victims of violence 24 hours a day. The CAVP also provides technical assistance, training, and education for community organizations, law enforcement, and mainstream service providers on violence issues affecting the LGBT community.

-- 30 --

Contact: Betsy Stephens
July 12, 2001

PFLAG Continues Support of Mom of Hate Crime Victim, Urges Police to Continue Investigation

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) today offered their continued support and assistance to the mother of Fred Martinez, Jr., a Colorado teen who was murdered in June. Montezuma County Court documents released yesterday concerning the death of Martinez - a gay, Two-Spirit Navajo youth - revealed that the suspect, Shaun Murphy, was quoted as bragging that 'he had beat up a fag.' The PFLAG Durango/Four Corners chapter members have been talking with Martinez's mother, Paula Mitchell, since the murder was first made public.

"This is a horrible tragedy for Fred's family," said Betsy Stephens, president of the PFLAG Durango/Four Corners chapter, "and we encourage the Montezuma County Sheriff's office to continue investigating the probable bias motive. Fred bravely endured harassment from his peers because he refused to hide his true self, and we should remember him as the genuine person he was. His life and tragic death are examples of the struggle that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people face in order to be honest about themselves, and the horrible consequences of homophobia in our society."

Other PFLAG members, particularly those who have experienced hate violence, have offered their support to Mitchell. "This is a horrible tragedy, and we are doing all we can to help Paula through this very difficult time," said PFLAG Olympia (Washington) member Gabi Clayton, whose bisexual teenage son committed suicide in 1995 after experiencing a hate crime. "The loss of a child is overwhelming and heartbreaking, and we are trying to be there emotionally for Paula, especially those of us who have experienced that loss."

PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons, their families and friends through support, education and advocacy. Serving more than 84,000 supporters, PFLAG's more than 460 chapters and affiliates are located in communities across the United


[GLAAD Western Call to Action] Call to Action 7/13/01

-----Original Message-----
From: @glaad.org  On Behalf Of Hallie Whittaker
Sent: Friday, July 13, 2001 2:54 PM
To: Multiple recipients of WCALL
Subject: [GLAAD Western Call to Action] Call to Action 7/13/01

July 13, 2001

The GLAAD Call to Action is the regional activation tool of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation


The tragic murder of openly gay, Two-Spirit Navajo youth Fred Martinez, Jr., has presented many challenges and opportunities to local, regional and national media covering the story. Martinez, a 16-year-old resident of Cortez, Colo., is described by family and friends as a loving, promising youth who acknowledged the complexities of his sexual orientation and gender identity. He identified himself differently to different people; depending on who
you asked, he described himself as half-Navajo, openly gay, Two-Spirit and transgender, among other descriptions. GLAAD, the Four Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity (4cGLAD), the Colorado Anti-Violence Program, and PFLAG Durango/Four Corners have been working with reporters in Cortez and elsewhere to ensure that
descriptions of Martinez's sexual orientation and gender identity are not only fair, accurate and inclusive, but also sensitive to the complexities of his life experience.

In addition, local groups also have encouraged journalists to look at underreported aspects of this story, including: transgender identity, Two-Spirit identity, anti-transgender bias, and coverage of a probable hate crime in a state where no protections exist for LGBT people.

Three outlets deserve mention in light of their coverage, whether excellent, improving or problematic: the "Cortez [Colo.] Journal," "The Denver Post," and the Associated Press.

Fred Martinez's hometown newspaper, the "Cortez Journal," has set a high standard of journalistic excellence in covering this story. Staff writer Aspen Emmett and editorial staffers Suzy Meyer and Gail Binkly have made consistently professional, brave reporting decisions since Martinez's body was discovered three weeks ago. The "Journal" has not shied away from factual, open discussions of Martinez's gender identity and sexual orientation and how anti-gay/anti-trans bias likely was a factor in his murder.

In response to criticism of the "Journal's" factual reporting of Martinez's gay and transgender identity, the paper published an editorial ("There was nothing shameful about Martinez's sexuality" - July 10) that forcefully and eloquently defended its coverage. "Let's make one thing clear," the editorial concluded. "We do not believe there is anything shameful about homosexuality or being transgendered. We do not believe, as our anonymous letter-writer
does, that it is a flaw. If Fred Martinez didn't try to hide the fact that he was gay, why should we? And as long as people believe homosexuality is a dark secret to be concealed at all cost, how will gays ever come to be fully accepted into society?"

Please thank the "Cortez Journal" for its excellent news and editorial coverage.

Suzy Meyer, Editor/General Manager
Cortez Journal
37 E. Main St., P.O. Box J, Cortez, CO 81321
Phone: (970) 565-8527
Fax: (970) 565-8532
E-mail: editor@cortezjournal.com

Largely problematic in the early days of the story, "The Denver Post's" coverage dramatically improved after conversations with the Colorado Anti-Violence Project, 4cGLAD, PFLAG Durango/Four Corners and local community members. "The Denver Post," a major regional newspaper that is located nearly 500 miles northeast of Cortez, has recognized the regional importance of the story and has been covering the story prominently out of its Four Corners Bureau. While it initially identified Fred Martinez only as openly gay, the "Post" recently has reported on both Martinez's gay and transgender identities.

Strong reporting by the "Post" is crucial because it informs coverage by local outlets throughout the region. Please thank "The Denver Post" for its improved coverage and its commitment to fair, accurate and inclusive reporting.

Todd Engdahl, Editor
The Denver Post
1560 Broadway
Denver, Colorado 80202-1577

In contrast to the increasingly sensitive, accurate coverage by the "Cortez Journal" and "The Denver Post," the Associated Press Denver Bureau published stories on July 6 and July 12 that oversimplified
and sensationalized Fred Martinez's identity. The articles (which were not by-lined) identify Martinez only as "openly gay" and report that Martinez "was known to pluck his eyebrows, wear makeup and carry a purse to school." These associations not only conflate gender expression with sexual orientation, but also fail to mention Martinez's self-identification as a transgender and Two-Spirit person.

The AP articles are even more disappointing in light of fact that GLAAD met last year with the Associated Press Stylebook to discuss the proper terminology to use when writing about issues involving sexual orientation and gender identity. Please contact the AP Denver Bureau and ask that future articles demonstrate more sensitivity toward the complexities of Fred Martinez's identity.

The Associated Press
Denver Bureau
1444 Wazee St., Ste. 130
Denver, CO 80202-1395
E-mail: dene@ap.org

Also noteworthy are articles in the "Denver Rocky Mountain News" and the Farmington, N.M. "Daily Times" that specifically mention Fred Martinez's Two-Spirit identity.

Two-Spirit is a term used by some Native Americans to describe a person who embraces a gender identity that differs from his or her biological sex and/or a person who is attracted to members of the same sex. The term, which may be defined or used differently by various Native Americans, stems from a traditional belief that some
people have two spirits, embodying both male and female gender identities.

Thus far, the "Rocky Mountain News" and the "Daily Times" are the only outlets to name and discuss this important identity, and they have opened the door to a more nuanced discussion about the complexities of gender identity, ethnic identity and sexual orientation.

(NOTE: a library of news stories and editorials related to the Fred Martinez case is available at the 4cGLAD Web site, http://www.4cglad.org/)

TO JOIN GLAAD AND RECEIVE GLAAD's QUARTERLY GLAADNOTES MAGAZINE, call 1.800.GAY.MEDIA or join on the Web today at < www.glaad.org>.

NOTE: The following statement can be attributed to Pauline Mitchell. Ms. Mitchell is the mother of Fred C. Martinez, Jr., the sixteen year old Native American Two-Spirit youth whose body was discovered near Cortez, Colo., on June  21.  Ms. Mitchell is releasing this statement in lieu of interviews.  Additional contact information and resources are listed immediately below this statement. 

Pauline Mitchell's statement is also available here as a PDF file which includes a photograph of Fred and the artwork from his memorial service. You need to have the Adobe Acrobat reader to be able to open it.

JULY 18, 2001


"I feel it is time to talk about the death of my son, Fred C. Martinez, Jr.

"I am his mother and now I want to make sure the truth is told about Fred by people who loved him.  With more and more talk about his death, the police looking into his murder, and the details of my son's personal life in the media, it is time to speak the truth about Fred's life.

"The most important thing I can say is that I loved Fred.  I loved my son exactly for who he was, for his courage in being honest and gentle and friendly.  It is sad that he had to face pain in his daily life and in school.

"I am speaking out now because I am angry.  I am angry that other people are lying about who my son was, including Shaun Murphy and his family.  I want to make sure that Fred has people speaking the truth about his life.  I am angry that the police have not taken the time to explain what is happening and help me deal with this.  I don't want to read about new things in the newspaper.

"I reported that Fred was missing on June 18.  Two days later I called the police again, and on June 23 I read about a body being found near our home.  I phoned the police again, but they told me the body had not been identified.  Since June 25, when the police told me at work that Fred had been murdered, I wondered if it was because of who he was and how he expressed himself.  Violence was a common part of his life, and as I learn more, I know that this was a crime based on anger and hate.  His friends, other students at school, and family friends have told me things that make me know that Shaun Murphy picked Fred out to chase and beat him.

"One of the places that Fred faced a lot of trouble was in school.  I blame the people in charge at the school for not making sure he was safe.  I am angry that they thought Fred was the problem.  Fred tried very hard to fit in.  People in charge shouldn't treat children differently just because they aren't like them.  I hope that they will listen to me and other people who care about what happened to Fred.

"Fred was a member of the Native American Church.  A lot of Native American Church members prayed for Fred and his family.

"What I wanted for my son was for him to be accepted and loved, just like I accepted and loved him.  Fred was always proud to be Navajo. Fred did not struggle with who he was, but he was hurt because of the people who had problems with my son expressing himself honestly.  I hope that the police and the District Attorney will talk about this and bring justice for the death of my son.  I am grateful to Fred's friends for accepting him the way he was and remembering him for who he was.  Fred's family loved and cared deeply for all of who he was. We firmly believe that Fred's murder was a hate crime.

"Because he was different his life was taken from him, and we will never know the person Fred would have become."


Carolyn Wagner
Vice President, National PFLAG

Alan Cook

Betsy Stephens
President, PFLAG Durango/Four Corners

Denise de Percin
Executive Director, Colorado Anti-Violence Program

Ron Schlittler
PFLAG West Field Manager, Field, Program and Policy Department
Washington DC, 20036

AUGUST 6, 2001

Request to PFLAG chapters and glbt and other human rights organizations/communities

My name is Pauline Mitchell. My youngest son, Fred C. Martinez, Jr. was brutally assaulted and left to die alone in an anti-glbt hate crime in Cortez, Colorado. Fred was 16 yrs old. I am Navajo and a single working mother. I have encountered incredible problems here in seeking justice for my son. There are many who believe this is a "kid" who did not matter outside of his family and friends.

I desperately need your help in sending a message that people all over do care about the Fred's living in our communities and attending our schools. That we are no longer going to be silent when our children's lives are destroyed and taken just because they are different, that they dress and present outside of what boys or girls should wear, that they may love one of the same gender. That just because you are glbt or poor or with skin of a different color as my Fred was, does not lessen the value of his life or your loved ones or even yourselves.

PFLAG has helped me plan a vigil that will honor my son's life, the seeking of justice here and the larger message that this must stop and stop now. Please join us in Cortez, Colorado on the evening of August 11, 2001 to host a candle light vigil in your community. I and so many other's who have been hurt by hate violence beg for your help at this time. I am a PFLAG parent and loved my son without reservation. I accepted and permitted his exploration of all that he was. I was always afraid that violence would find him but didn't want to believe it would really come, that always happens to someone else. None of us are safe until we all join together with a unified voice.

PFLAG and other organizations will have the information you will need for a local vigil. Please help and let Carolyn at fuah.org know if you are willing to do this. Carolyn is out here with me now and has been for several weeks now. Personally, I do not know what I would have done if not for the support and guidance from two other PFLAG moms, Gabi Clayton and Carolyn Wagner and Betsy Stephens from PFLAG/Durango. 

Gratefully, Paula Mitchell

May 23, 2002
Murphy opts not to change plea 
by Jim Mimiaga - Cortez Journal - Cortez, Colorado 


JUNE 3, 2002


Denise de Percin, Executive Director, Colorado Anti-Violence Program

John Peters-Campbell, Four Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity


The Colorado Anti-Violence Program (CAVP) responded with approval today at the forty year sentence imposed by Judge Hanson on Shawn Murphy, who pled guilty to second degree murder in the death of Fred Martinez, Jr. in Cortez, Colorado last June. The sentence is only five years less than the maximum allowed, and it will be twenty-five years before Shawn Murphy is eligible for parole.

"It has been a difficult and grueling year for Pauline Mitchell and her family," said Denise de Percin, Executive Director. "The evidence presented by the prosecution and the strong and emotional victim impact statement read by Pauline Mitchell to the court clearly convinced the judge of the profound impact of the loss on Fred's family and community."

Members of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community organization, 4 Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity, have been working closely with Pauline Mitchell since last June, and have provided support for her through the criminal justice process. "One can't be really be completely satisfied in a situation like this, but Pauline is at peace with the verdict, and its as good a result as we could have hoped for," said John Peters-Campbell, 4cGLAD board member from Cortez. "Shawn Murphy will spend most of his adult life in jail."

Statement of Pauline Mitchell at the sentencing hearing on June 3, 2002 of Shawn Murphy, who pled guilty to the murdered her son Fred Martinez, Jr. in Cortez, Colorado last June.

I am Pauline Mitchell. My son Fred C. Martinez, Jr., F.C. as he was known by family and friends, left this world much too soon because of those who fear and hate anyone who is different. I have come to discover that many, many people do care about Fred, Jr. It's hard especially when you have to talk about your baby this way. He was killed because he was different. To some people Fred said he was "transgender", to others "gay", to some "Nadleeh," a Native American word for people who live in the worlds of both female and male. To me, these labels mean nothing -- and they meant nothing to F.C. He used these terms to make other people comfortable, not himself. You should also know that those "other people" did not include his family. We loved FC exactly as he was - and it is so sad that fear and hate of difference put young people like Fred and many others in the path of danger and violence.

I am a single parent. I have two granddaughters, two grandsons, and six boys, 26 on down. My oldest is 26, and Fred was the youngest. My son was only 16 years. Just a month ago he would have celebrated his seventeenth birthday. He could have had a lot of good years ahead of him. I have been sick for nearly a year from the loss of my son. I have missed a lot of work to go down to the hospital in Shiprock over and over again. Sometimes I can tell people haven't wanted to hire me because they know who I am and about Fred.

I love my son so much and I miss him very, very much. He was an outspoken boy, laughing and joking all the time. It is so quiet in my house now. F.C. was always ready to bring a laugh or smile to my heart when I needed it the most. He never saw another person as a stranger but as a fellow human being and was always ready to give a hug or compliment to anyone whom he believed to be hurting. F.C. loved life and to make others happy. He was my "tail" as I would call him. He was always ready to go with me on any errands or trips I had to make. He cherished his friends and he had many. He would love to do make-up with his girlfriends, to share ideas. He was a free spirit and I loved him for his spirit and all of who he was. Fred was a happy kid.

Almost four years ago, when he was 13 and in Middle School he started changing, wearing make-up. First eyebrow pencil. Later on curling his hair, putting more make-up on, and putting on nail polish. And Fred always carried a purse. Other than that, he dressed as a typical junior high school kid-like most of the kids he was friends with, like Marlene and Robin, dressed. He liked it. He was out with mostly girls. And he loved to fiddle around with his girlfriends' hair. Some of what the newspapers said about F.C. was not true, saying that he was wearing dresses, using girl's room--which he never did. One day we sat down in the front room, and he said, "This is the way I want to be." His brothers didn't say anything to him. We really didn't say nothing to him. F.C. was beautiful and liked to make himself more beautiful. We treated him like he is precious to us. The youngest. If that is how you want to be, if you are happy with it, okay. F.C. had many difficult times in his short life. Much of this was related to the fact that he was Navajo living in a world that does not honor and respect different ways, and also that he was Nadleeh--Two-Spirit-and he could comfortably walk the path of both male and female, that he would love differently from most. F.C. also felt the pain of what comes when your family is poor, but very proud. It is not easy to grow up as Navajo, Nadleeh and poor. But these are facts of life. He was not ashamed of who he was and neither was I. I now tell you that I dearly loved my precious son and was proud of all that he was.

F.C. was picked on at school because of the way he dressed. I understood kids picked on him. But he never told me, his girlfriends told me. F.C. worked hard to overcome these hardships and he was beginning to find the path he would walk down for what should have been a long and fulfilling life, and to do so proudly. He was interested in art and design. He liked to do hair and make up. He had ambitions. There were many things he wanted to do, and many places he wanted to go. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D. C. were the three cities Fred had always wanted to visit. I've gone to each of them this past year for the first time, but Fred could only go with me in spirit. Why can't others allow our loved ones to live their lives and to express themselves freely?

The last time I saw F.C. alive was the night of the Ute Mountain Rodeo in Cortez. He was going with some friends to the carnival just a mile from my house. The next time I saw him was to identify his body, at the funeral home. He'd been chased, beaten with a rock. He had been left to bleed, with a fractured skull, alone in the dark in a little canyon only a quarter mile from our home. He wasn't found until a week later. I was worried sick when he never returned, but I never thought it could be this bad. I don't know how long he lay there suffering. I don't know what his last thoughts were. I don't know all of the people who were involved. I know they chased him and beat him. And I know they left him lying there and tried to hide it. And that later Shawn Murphy bragged about it. He wasn't found until a week later, unrecognizable as the beautiful boy I'd last seen a week before. I had to identify that body by the hair band F.C.'d been wearing. This happened to my son and no way am I going to let that go. Some of my questions may never be answered. I just want to know the truth about what happened to my son. And I want justice to be done to all of the people responsible for his murder.

Mr. Murphy, you took my son away from me in the most vicious way I can imagine. You smashed his head with a rock. You were covered with his blood. When you left him that night a year ago in the Pits, not even a mile away from here, you knew you beat him with a rock and you felt it break his skull. You knew how much he was bleeding because you were covered with his blood. You deliberately left him there to die- - or already dead. And my son lay there for a week and all you said about it was that you had "bug-smashed a fag."

I think you should be put to death for that. But I know that will not happen. It doesn't even seem to me like you care about what you've done. It looks like you have only cared about yourself since you were arrested. You say you want to be a father to your child, but what kind of father can take a mother's youngest child away from her with no apology whatsoever? It looks to me like you are a dangerous, violent person. The idea that I might see you on the street before too long, free to live your life, is an insult to me and to the memory of my son, Fred. I believe that you should be in jail for as much of your life as the law will allow. Because of you Fred can never become the person he might have been and the world is less for that. Whatever life is left to you, in jail or not, and whatever freedom you might have after is more than you deserve. You stole my son's life. You broke my family. And you broke my heart.

Thank you, Your Honor.


Murphy gets 40 years
by Jim Greenhill - Durango Herald, Durango, CO - June 4, 2002

Mother of slain Cortez boy describes her anguish at sentencing
by Jim Greenhill - Durango Herald, Durango, CO - June 4, 2002

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