In 2012, two teenaged lesbians were brutally attacked and left for dead in a Texas park. 19 year old Mollie Olgin died and her girlfriend Mary Kristene Chapa, then 18, survived with serious debilitating injuries. News of the arrest of the 27-year-old suspect brought to light the fact that one or both women were also sexually assaulted during the assault.
On Friday, just three days before the two-year anniversary of the shooting, the U.S. Marshals Service arrested David Malcom Strickland, 27, in Helotes, Texas, KSAT reports. Strickland faces charges of capital murder, aggravated assault with a weapon and aggravated sexual assault in connection with the crime. The sexual assault charge is the first indication since the attack that the couple was also raped.
“The information that we received is that he approached them at gunpoint, he brought them down to a grassy area in the park and that’s where the assault and shootings took place,” the U.S. Marshals Service Chris Bozeman told KSAT.
It is unclear if the women’s sexual orientation was a factor in the attack.
Mary Kristene Chapa continues her journey of recovery from traumatic brain injury. Her family has exhausted their savings and many procedures are not covered by her insurance. If you would like to support her, there is a GoFundMe project.
There has been no news in the murders of Houston residents and lesbians of color, Crystal Jackson and Britney Cosby. Cosby’s father remains incarcerated, but has not been charged.
Earlier in the week, Yaz’min Shancez, a 31-year-old trans woman of color was founded brutally murdered (shot and her body burned) in Naples, Florida.
4 women of color (Kristene is Latina) and 1 white woman brutally assaulted and left for dead in this swathe across the South. Obviously, there are many other crimes to report – 40-year-old trans woman of color Kandy Hall was also found murdered in Baltimore last month. I can’t even find a photo of Kandy. An arrest was made in the murder of Cleveland’s Brittany Kidd-Stergis (another young trans woman of color), but no leads yet in the murder of a disabled white trans woman who was bedridden when she was killed. Her name was Betty Janet Skinner.
A young woman in our own Pittsburgh community was injured during an altercation at Pridefest – she’s 19.
It isn’t lost of me that during Pittsburgh’s 10th annual Dyke and Trans March – a celebration of visibility and identity – we have so many crimes against queer women from all walks of life unsolved, unresolved, unaddressed, unspoken, unacknowledged and unknown.
Justice is complicated. It is tied up in visibility, peacemaking, forgiveness, anger, outrage, occupying our own space, community building, compassion, support and cooperation with the police. It isn’t easy or uncomplicated work to create justice. There’s a role for each of us, a task we are each uniquely suited to fill.
The lives of our sisters, brothers, neighbors and friends – and our children – require us to do that hard work. An alleged rapist and murderer is off the streets because of that hard work. For now. We’ll need to do more work.
And so it goes.