A horrific story coming out of Pearland, Texas. This past Tuesday, 19 year-old Hermilio Moralez was getting a ride home from his friend, 18 year-old Joshua Wilkerson, when according to Moralez’ statement, Wilkerson began hitting on him. The two got out of the truck and a fight ensued, where Moralez grabbed a wooden rod and beat the 18 year-old to death.
Moralez then drove Wilkerson’s body to a field and burned it. He then drove Wilkerson’s pickup truck to a local strip center and dumped the boy’s shoes and backpack into a dumpster.
One of Wilkerson’s friends wrote on a memorial facebook page:
“Josh you really were a cool kid. Anyone that had the chance to meet you and be your friend knows how much fun you were and how full of heart and love you were. always up for making someone laugh or smile when you know they were goin threw a hard day. I will never forget you and the memories shared with you! Forever remembered and never forgot. We love you boy!”
Wilkerson’s facebook page shows some of his frustrations with living in Pearland, and he identifies as being interested in women. His status updates are frequently filled with Bible quotes and desires to get out of Pearland (not to mention a few homophobic and racial slurs thrown around by him and his friends). One of his friends spoke to Talk About Equality and informed us that Josh was indeed straight.
Regardless of Wilkerson’s identity, there must be a discussion around the gay panic defense, which Moralez’ lawyers will undoubtedly use. The idea that beating and/or taking another person’s life because of this societal fear of gay people needs to be rectified. This can no longer be a defense for horrific actions.
Our hearts go out to the familes and friends of Wilkerson and Moralez and we look forward to seeing how this story unfolds.