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February 19, 2009

No remorse for killing, witness says

Posted: 09:55 AM ET

BARTOW, Florida–For the first time on Wednesday, jurors in the Bartow, Florida murder trial of Joseph Bearden – charged with the stabbing death of Ryan Skipper – heard testimony suggesting why some believe the killing was actually a hate crime. According to a key prosecution witness, the defendant admitted that he felt no remorse about killing Skipper – an openly gay man – because he had done the world a favor by getting rid of a homosexual.

Joseph Bearden

Robert Aguero – whose sister, Maria, had testified earlier – told jurors of Bearden’s demeanor a few hours after the murder. “He didn’t feel good about it, because he knew it was wrong, but he didn’t feel bad about it, either . . . it seemed pretty all right in their eyes to do what they did.” Bearden and co-defendant William Brown, Jr. – who will be tried separately later this year – both face the possibility of execution should they be convicted. Bearden has pleaded not guilty.

In Session brings you gavel-to-gavel coverage of this case.

–In Session staff

Filed under: Uncategorized


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Betty Phillips   February 19th, 2009 10:05 am ET

Thank goodness Florida has the death penalty!!! Betty


Paula   February 19th, 2009 10:09 am ET

Apparently tatoos are rearing thier ugly head as yet another form of descrimination. There is Gay bashing, Black bashing, Hispanic bashing and now tatoo bashing?? Judging one's book by it's cover is shallow and short-sighted, What's next? I don't like you because of the color of your earrings?? Please......


Mac Ambo   February 19th, 2009 10:13 am ET

What do Beardens tattoo's tell us?
In convict life tattoos are symbolic in that they individualize the wearer in two ways – one is a matter of ongoing survival; the other is a matter of quietly sharing past history. Bearden has many more tattoos than just the ones on his face and neck; they are on his back, all over his arms and legs, wrists and hands; and I believe these two new additions are there in preparation of what he knows is his inevitable second and possibly last visit to a Florida prison if only for for the crimes he will plead guilty to in this case. He knows he faces the toughest road of his life ahead, and he's putting the system on notice that he's one bad boy. It's likely Bearden will die either in prison naturally, or be put to death at the hands of the State or another inmate and he knows it.


mel   February 19th, 2009 10:23 am ET

Is there any way we can watch the testimony of Richard Agaro instead of continuing to talk to Jean Casarez about whats going on in the courtroom now. She has already told the whole story three times. But I would much rather watch the testimony we missed yesterday than talk about the same thing over and over again, or have her tell us what he said. Please just show his testimony instead of talking about it.


kerri skipper   February 19th, 2009 10:28 am ET

i am disgusted that there are still people out there in this world who would be so homophobic to kill a wonderful young man is unreal. as for his tattoos represents his crimes . he has a teardrop tattoo because he commited a murder . i personnally never met ryan skipper but i am married to his cousin . i have seen the pain this murder has brought this family firsthand . i cannot believe there are still people who would be that afraid of someone different than he was to kill that other person. ryan sounded like an amazing and wonderful man and i only wish as a new family member i could have had known him .


roch   February 19th, 2009 10:56 am ET

I think this guy (Joseph Bearden) should be lock up and his key thrown to a sea; what he's done is a terrible, terrible thing, and for our society to start getting it right we ought to get people like this off our streets!!!! He commited the crime, there is no doubt in my mind!


Raymond Speil   February 19th, 2009 10:57 am ET

Fry the scum!


GMS   February 19th, 2009 11:02 am ET

There is no room in this world for this hatred. He should be eliminated along with his beliefs. Enough is Enough!


Samantha   February 19th, 2009 11:17 am ET

He pleads not guilty, however admits to feeling no remorse for killing the man. Technically, doesn't that mean you are admitting to doing it? Not sure what's going on in his head if anything at all.


helen   February 19th, 2009 11:17 am ET

I think the verdict in the Hilton case was correct. I cried when I heard it. This poor woman spent ten years in prison for something she didn't do. I feel sorry for the family of the victims, but she shouldn't pay just because they didn't find the real killer.


Dan   February 19th, 2009 11:21 am ET

I don't know if Bearden killed Skipper but it looks like the detective threatened Aguero with so much that he finally said what he wanted him to say.Whether that is fact or not who knows. I just hope the state gets the right one or ones.


ann powell   February 19th, 2009 11:37 am ET

cnn.com live video stream comes in on all but bearden trial.please have them fix. ASAP


mi   February 19th, 2009 11:55 am ET

My youngest son is gay. I fear for his saftey when he's vocal in his community because of scum like this and yet I feel so much pride that he knows who he is and fights for the same rights that "straight" people have.
But I must say, I think murder is murder, whether it's because someone is gay or because someone ticked you off, there is no good reason for murder other than self defense.
People that have no remorse for taking a life need to lose theirs in return, regardless of why they killed. I have another son who is not gay, and if someone killed him, I would want them punished just as badly as I would if someone killed my gay son. Just my opinion.


Janet Plercher   February 19th, 2009 11:57 am ET

can't get the trial today, Thursday,2/19..anyone else having problems?


Mr. Dee   February 19th, 2009 12:20 pm ET

As an ex deputy sheriff, I would like to make a comment on the tattoos Mr. Bearden is diplaying...The dagger through the left eye could be tied into the "Arian Brotherhood" and the tear at the corner of the right eye usually means the wearer of this tattoo, in the prison or incarcerated community, has killed someone.


William Bitner   February 19th, 2009 12:44 pm ET

I am so glad that the word "faggot" finally game out in the trial. This is a case of hate if ever I heard one. As a gay man, who has been attacked on the street for just looking gay, I hope that President Obama will keep his promise and get the Hate Crime Laws passed that we need in this country.
William B.
Cleona, PA


Ken Lutz   February 19th, 2009 1:01 pm ET

The coward got tattooed to attempt to be hard looking in prison. He knows he will become a girlfriend in prison and would NEVER want anyone to think he was easy...AKA...gay...

This is a hate crime and his motive was because the victim was gay.


Ginger   February 19th, 2009 1:13 pm ET

I couldn't get the live feed to connect this morning. Did anyone else have this issue?


lhart   February 19th, 2009 1:13 pm ET

Thanks for getting live trials back-you learn much more when watching in real time!!!!!–there are way too many people like this in the world–you get a "upclose" look at how some of these " people" live and think when you see them in action–no wonder they asked for that poor kids ID–he was WAY out of his circle of friends–and paid for it-what a bunch !!!


jenny   February 19th, 2009 1:22 pm ET

he's gotta be in the closet... otherwise why would he hate someone for being gay, if it's not for the fact that he's probably gay himself and loathes it.


jenny   February 19th, 2009 1:26 pm ET

I think that Joseph Bearden is a waste of space. There is no room in this world for people like him. He was right when he said he was doing the world a favor, except that he should have been referring to himself! What a loser!


daniel c. satterwhite   February 19th, 2009 1:36 pm ET

I have been told on several ocassions that the tatto of a tear under your eye means that you have killed someone. I if that is true it is to me a sign of guilt!


Ron   February 19th, 2009 1:51 pm ET

Paula – The people commenting on the tattoos are not judging Bearden nor are they discriminating against him because of the tattoos. They are simply stating facts about the origin, history or symbolic nature of the tattoos that he displays. Bearden's tattoos tell a story and it's not a good one.


Ryan   February 19th, 2009 1:55 pm ET

Yes he did do the world a favor...exposed his hatred, got caught, and will be removed from society. Hopefully via the death penalty. One more scum pile off of our streets. I hope someone stabbs him to death in jail.


joe   February 19th, 2009 2:02 pm ET

Does anyone know if the "live feed" is on now ?


Phyllis Ohanian   February 19th, 2009 2:03 pm ET

I think Kathleen Hilton should get an academy award for her performance.
I think she played the jury like a fiddle. I think she set the fire and is capable of anything. I think she will act violently again to get what she wants at any cost. I don't believe she is innocent nor as incompetent as she portrayed herself. What an actress!


Bryan Ont Canada   February 19th, 2009 2:16 pm ET

Maybe he should do his time amongst the gay comunity in the prison??


Jennifer   February 19th, 2009 2:19 pm ET

I am familiar with jail and prison life. I began as a volunteer in the Penitentiary here in 2002, and remain in contact with the inmates there as well as with those who have been released and served jail time.
It is ABSOLUTELY true that all inmates in jail and prison are in extreme danger, of violence; of rape; of being made another inmate's "punk" – possession, slave, sex slave; of murder. There are various means of self-defense, including joining a gang and being violent and dangerous. The tattoos on the defendent here should be explained in this way – there is clearly desperate fear on his part to get such tattoos before his trial in a death-penatly case. Jury instructions to "ignore" them is not sufficient!!!! (I have NO opinion here about the guilt or innocence of the defendant here, just about the tattoos.)


Phyllis   February 19th, 2009 2:21 pm ET

I believe he did the deed and should be punished accordingly. Maybe the courts will do the world a favor and remove one more bottom feeder from our society.


justin   February 19th, 2009 2:25 pm ET

yea thank goodness for the death penalty, thats terrible not having remorse. hope he gets what he deserves. it just shows how sick of a person he really is.


mick   February 19th, 2009 2:29 pm ET

Not all face tatoos are bad you know. I met a guy with his whole face tattood and he was a nice guy. turns out that while in prison, he was the weakest link and to mess with him, the others would tat his face. when i met him, his whole face pretty much looked like a clown would with makeup around mouth, eyes and nose. but you know.... tatooed.


denise stevens   February 19th, 2009 3:09 pm ET

I think that the defense attorney's for Ms Hilton were very clever. Having her wear totally strange hair-do's put on her best bored and out of it face. Afterwards it was obvious the woman was not as they tried to depict her. by the way I do not think this in any way (her being delared innocent) was a race related issue. I just think the jurors beleived the whole psycho babble!


Zelvin   February 19th, 2009 3:13 pm ET

Why is the tattoo so prevalent in this case? I would think that it owes to the fact that when first arrested Mr. Bearden he did not have any tattoos. The reason for getting tattooing could have various reasoning… for the most part it is probable, although I have no substantiation, that the tattoos will create a sense of being a gristly person.

The painful truth is as a convicted Murderer, to the same extent within any penal US system, the status of a Murder is at the top of prison hierarchy. Another truism within the US penal system is the majority of inmates view homosexuals as being weak, inferior persons and consequently are habitually targeted for violent encounters within correctional institutions. Thus, notwithstanding, once Mr. Bearden is to be condemned, and if he is not to receive a sentence of death, he will enjoy all advantages of the top-rankings offered to Murderers amongst themselves and a prison’s other populace.

Nonetheless, I am not a death-sentence advocator. In all actuality, I am a fervent “anti-death” penalty supporter. Experiencing contact with inmates that are serving life sentences, I have heard numerous instances were inmates assert that they should have requested a death sentence… owing to the “desolation” of living a lengthy incarcerated life. As is the case with Mr. Bearden, the majority of inmates sentenced to life devoid of parole are younger men whom face a long, dreary existence inside prisons and correctional institutions knowing that they will never face the possibility of gaining freedom.


Klaatu   February 19th, 2009 3:27 pm ET

ok are you telling me his attorney didnt have the brains to get some face make-up and cover that tattoo up....

Good reason for appeal ..


me   February 19th, 2009 3:30 pm ET

how did bearden get a black eye? he did not have this yesterday


Rick Clifton   February 19th, 2009 3:37 pm ET

The live feed doesn't begin until television coverage is finished for the day at 3PM EST.


GIO   February 19th, 2009 3:40 pm ET

I THINK THAT THAT GUY SHOULD GO TO JAIL.......ME I THINK YAHTS RACES AND SHOULD GO TO THE SLAMMER.


A Blest Child   February 19th, 2009 3:42 pm ET

Not sure why this government works the way it does. Alot of people have said and eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth... However, has anyone taken the time to think of all the wrong they have done... In secret??? Be slow to speak, and slow to anger... Keep in mind that there is power in what you speak...


nik   February 19th, 2009 4:05 pm ET

Skee-I believe there is a small tear drop next to his other eye. The large tattoo that goes up and down is a dagger.


Neill in TX   February 19th, 2009 4:32 pm ET

Mac Ambo....................."HERE, HERE"

from a sleeved-up professional....


matt   February 19th, 2009 4:41 pm ET

Samantha – admitting to killing someone is not the same, in legal concepts, as pleading guilty. One. The state may not accept the guilty plea. Two. He may believe he is guilty of a lesser form of murder than 1st degree/capital murder, thus can't plead guilty. Three. In many jurisdiction, you cannot plead guilty to capital murder as a matter of due process. Four. The strategy may be too admit it, so that he can magnify a better sentencing case against the death penalty (especially in conjunction with number three).


MIke   February 19th, 2009 4:48 pm ET

He's obviously a punk afraid of becoming someones gf in jail. As if the other inmates wouldn't find out that those tats all came post-arrest.
The tear drop means that the person killed someone while in prison. I guess he wants to look badder than he really is, that he killed an inmate instead of a gay man. He'll be begging for the death penalty in 45 minutes.


Tempy Keller   February 19th, 2009 4:52 pm ET

Absolutely ridiculous. Abolish this rat and his ideas. Good riddance.


hemnebob   February 19th, 2009 5:02 pm ET

i agree with betty.
thank goodness for the death penalty.
when they have no remorse for taking a life, then that
is a sure sign they will kill again without guilt.
sad for all families surrounding this young man and his
destructive path...


Jennifer   February 19th, 2009 5:09 pm ET

Violence against any subordinate and vulnerable group in society – children, women, subordinate ethnic groups, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people – well this kind of violence and hate is identical to Nazi-ism, and I deplore hate speech and hate crime. Both should be unacceptable – and there should be punishments for hate speech and hate crimes that demonstrate that they are unaccceptable. If this man is guilty of a hate crime, then he should receive a sentence that demonstrates that hatred of any group is unacceptable. I opppose the death penalty, but he should get life without parole IF he is guilty.
HOWEVER, only the prosecution is speaking so far, and are we not supposed to be "presumed innocent until proven guilty"????


Annie Mae   February 19th, 2009 5:17 pm ET

He will get what is coming to him. Hope they put him in with the gay inmates.
None of us are perfect, but I can certainly say that I have never ever taken the life of someone, especially because they are gay?
C'mon, that would be like doing in my neighbor because they own a dog and not a cat.


Amanda   February 19th, 2009 5:22 pm ET

im glad that the gay one died its one less problem.... i hope that he gets away with it. LET THE ONES WHO DID A GOOD DEAD GO AND THE REAL GUILTY ONES GO AWAY. I VOTE INNOCENT


luke_4u   February 19th, 2009 6:09 pm ET

Nope sorry, no capitol punishment. Life in prison, yes that'll work.


skee   February 19th, 2009 11:09 pm ET

I would like to comment on the tatoo. You are all wrong. It's not a tear drop or anything else you said. Take a closer look and you will see that it is horns. He got into deep stuff after his arrest. if you don't know what your talking about then don't say anything.


dennis   February 20th, 2009 11:00 am ET

... one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL!!!
I hope Ryan did not suffer long. I feel so sorry for his family, having lost my own 21 year old son under more peaceful circumstances. I can't imagine being in the courtroom listening to the gruesome details. There are no words....
I won't go as far as wishing Bearden a slow horrible death, I just wouldn't lose a second of sleep should it happen.


Jason   February 20th, 2009 2:39 pm ET

There seems to be strong evidence against Ray Brown. He was found with cuts on his hands and Ryan Skipper's blood on his clothes. All of that coinciding with his behavior (shaking and trembling) on the night in question puts the "blood on his head".


Tyler   February 20th, 2009 4:47 pm ET

Knowing a little more about this person and this crime I think I can inform you all alot of what you are missing.. In July of 2008 I was in a wrong place wrong time situation where drugs addicts gaqve the police taped statements and police put me in handcuffs. That was the end of my arrest the police didn’t care what i had to say they jusy saw the fine and court cost they could recive. I was placed in the Polk county jail in the MAX UNIT. The people I was housed with were of the like of Smiley, but i was only the for a felony battery. Enough with that, but back to my point of writing this. The State’s case against Joey is alot worst then The O.J. trial to say the least. The have nothing placing him at the scene expect a METH Head who says he saw Joey leave in the car with the victim and other suspect. The state first aressted Joeys co-defendents cousion but drop his charges charge Joey and are now having him testify agenst Joey. As far as his tats I belive that was the dumbest thing he could have done but as many spectulated I too belive that he felt he had to do that to survive, when I was in PCJ Joey had gotten into a fight with a guy at least 2 times his size and took a beating but held his head up and is doing what he has to do to live. Hes not a bad guy and yes he was on drugs but there is no evidence placing him at the scene of the crime.
As far as this being a hate crime I really can’t say because i don’t belive Joey was at the murder scence and I don’t know anything about the other person charged, but they were all heavy drug users and Skipper knew who he was hanging out with ended up robed and dead. If there was a dead man in L.A. or N.Y. found stabbed 20 times in a known drug area you know why he was killed and this happened in a known drug area that the victum knew ,and where the victum was known. I belive the whole hate crime thing was another GREAT GRADY JUDD CNN PRESS METTING COMMENT, because if you live in polk county you know Grady love to be on that t.v.
When you find a spelling error just fix it in you head, THANKS


courtney   February 21st, 2009 1:41 am ET

well i think this is such a senseless act just like kids picking on kids who cares if someone is different ethnic or gay if you dont like someone dont associate with them keep it to your self we all have a right to be here some people just need to grown the hell up and for another the tatoos could he even get a girl or have a family that is just stupid to tatoo your face like that tatoos ok but stupid thug like tatoos that look like they were not professionally done and you advertise that on your face .......now hopefully this guy will feel remorse spending his life behind bars or on death row.we don't need people like this among us trying to be the judge only god should be the judge......sorry to the families lost


sherri   February 21st, 2009 3:40 pm ET

he who has no sin throw the first stone. Nobody can judge unless u are god and we all no we are not god. None us know what happened that night but god,skipper and who ever did it. There is so much hatred in this world so listen to all of us we are all being just as hateful with words.


Shari   February 23rd, 2009 11:59 am ET

The defense attorney in this case is so arrogant that he is making his client look very guilty
Demeaning people only makes it more apparant that he knows this kid helped kill that boy and he is trying so openly to make everyone else look bad that like the killing itself that it is overkill


Debra   February 25th, 2009 2:51 pm ET

It bothers me to see so many people passing judgement without the facts to prove he did or didnt kill Skipper. There isnt enough evidence to convict him. If he is convicted with the lack of evidence I will have to question the justice system even more. My sympathy goes out to the family; however, I think they need to focus on Bill Bill. FYI: A tear drop tattoo means grief, losing someone you love. Last comment, how much money did the judge get paid to throw out everything out that proves he didnt do it!


christine   February 26th, 2009 3:37 pm ET

I Think When Drugs Are Involved,in A Persons Life,we Have To Look Much Deeper! Its A Shame,that An Innocent Mans Life Was Lost,but,what If It Was Ur Son,who Was Facing The Death Penalty,wouldnt You Look Deeper? I Blame The Drug Lifestyle! How Did He Get Into That Life? Two Wrongs Dont Make A Right!


Cheryl Settle   March 1st, 2009 10:22 am ET

I thik the jury was correct on this one. He was there, so that makes him guilty. He should have been working a legal job, even if it had to be flipping burgers! Now, his life is basically over.


Faith   March 2nd, 2009 3:47 pm ET

Cheryl-
How does you being in a place where a crime was committed make you guilty of committing that crime?
Are you serious??? That would mean that everyone who is at a place where a crime is committed would them ALL guity of "being there"!
He didn't stab Ryan, drive the car back to the house, and brag about killing him! The evidence didn't support the verdict of 2nd degree murder. Last time I checked robbing someone is totally different than killing someone. And he has never changed his story not once in stating they were going to rob him and he said whatever. They didn't say we're going to kill him and him say ok!
It's ashame that people make judgement on people when they don't have ALL the evidence or facts!



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