Sean Kennedy was a resident of Greenville County, South Carolina. South Carolina is one of five states in the U.S. with no hate crime law for crimes motivated by bias except for those such as law enforcement personnel, school officials, goats, mules, chickens, cats, dogs, and cows. As a result, Moller's murder charge was reduced to involuntary manslaughter, citing that there was "no malicious intent" from the accused. Moller received a 5 year sentence suspended to 3 years, with credit for 199 days served. Because involuntary manslaughter is considered non-violent he only has to serve one third of his sentence which means he should get out in September of 2009. If you can believe it, he is up for early parole in 2 weeks.
Elke Kennedy is Sean Kennedy's mother.
She has fought diligently to get the laws changed in South Carolina and has set up an organization in memory of her son called Sean's Last Wish. Elke says that Sean always talked about the fact that every human being should be treated equally, and supported equal rights under the law regardless of their race, religion, ancestry, ability, sexual orientation, etc. She truly believes it would have been Sean Kennedy's last wish to have the laws in South Carolina changed.
Throughout this tragedy Elke Kennedy has shown how powerful a mother's love can be.
She has held strong for her son's memory, and continues to work in his name to make this world a safer place for others by educating the puplic about how bullying, hatred, violence, intolerance, prejudice and religious bigotry leads to these senseless crimes. Elke has travled over 55000 miles in the past 22 month and attended 65 events. Sharing Sean's story and educating others has been all consuming, and now she is fighting against the early release of Sean's killer. Having spoke with her, I was touched by how she carries on, and has remained strong for Sean.
Here is a video with Elke Kennedy speaking out about the incident:
Having my 8 year old son assaulted at school because I am a lesbian gives me a deeper appreciation for what Sean Kennedy's mother is doing to make a difference.
It's very easy to stay stuck in anger or sadness, and I can't even begin to imagine what the Kennedy family has gone through. What I do know is that a grave injustice will occur if Stephen Moller is released this early. Please join me in helping make Sean's "last wish" a reality. This begins with Stephen Moller's parole hearing and making sure they deny his parole.
They are currently doing the pre-parole investigation, and now would be the best time to ask the parole board to deny his parole, you need to add what happened and why you believe he should not get parole.
HERE is the website where you can send your letter to ask that Stephen Moller's parole be denied. Please add this information as a reference: Parole for Stephen Andrew Moller - SCDC ID # 00328891;(eligible for parole after 12/28/08).
If you decide to send a letter, please send a copy to Elke Kennedy as well via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your compassion and help in this situation.
We need to send a message to South Carolina that their hate crime laws need to be changed, and it starts with denying the parole of Stephen Moller.
In Memory of Sean Kennedy
About the Author: Julie Phineas is a work at home mom of 2 who lives in Southern California. You can find out more about her by visiting her website at www.juliephineas.com.