Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Investigators Looking for 3 Suspects in 2012 Beating Death of Gay Man: Police

The case has been reclassified as a possible bias crime

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police are redoubling their efforts in the investigation into the killing of a 62-year-old gay man in Queens last year whose death may have been a bias crime, authorities say. Ida Siegal reports. (Published Thursday, Oct 17, 2013)

    Police are redoubling their efforts in the investigation into the killing of a 62-year-old gay man in Queens last year whose death may have been a bias crime, authorities say. 

    Authorities say Louis Rispoli was found unconscious with blunt force trauma to the head last October in Sunnyside, Queens, just a few blocks from the home he shared with his husband, Danyal Lawson.
    "It was about 11:30, he said, 'I'm going to get milk,'" said Lawson. "And he left, and I remember him walking out and that was it. That was the last I saw of him." 
    Rispoli was attacked near Queens Boulevard and 42nd Street, beaten over the head with an unknown object. He died a few days later in the hospital.
    Police believe at least three different suspects were involved in the attack, and have released sketches for two of them. There was no description for the third suspect. They may have gotten away in a gray or white sedan with a noisy muffler, police say. 
    "The fact that he was hit over the head -- I always feel like, it's one thing if you shoot somebody," said Lawson. "But to hit somebody, you have to have such anger and such hatred, and what brings people to that point?"
    Police are investigating the case as a bias crime. Rispoli was a well-known gay rights leader, and one of the first to marry in New York when it became legal.
    Police Commissioner Ray Kelly confirmed Wednesday that officers who initially responded have been reprimanded for assuming Rispoli was drunk and not establishing a crime scene investigation until two days later. Now police are republicizing their investigation, and authorities are offering a $22,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
    "It's really hard," said Lawson. "A person who's been with you 32 and a half years, that's more than half my life, and they took my husband away and I miss him." 

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