A South Florida man who targeted gay
men for robbery and ultimately confessed to the killing of a gay
senior may face the death penalty when a Broward County jury decides
his fate in May, reports gay weekly the South Florida Blade.
Eric Kurt Patrick, 45, was just coming
off a nine year prison sentence for carjacking when he began
targeting gay men in September of 2005.
Steven Schumacher's body was found on
Sept. 27, his wrists and ankles hog-tied and his mouth gagged with a
rag, inside the bathtub of his Oakland Park apartment. Investigators
say Patrick beat and strangled the gay senior to death.
Patrick befriended Schumacher at the
Cubby Hole, a gay bar in Fort Lauderdale, about a week before the
murder. He made off with a 2000 Ford Ranger pick-up truck and an ATM
card, but didn't get far. Police investigators quickly caught up
with their suspect, who was arrested on Sept. 28, shortly after the
police discovered the body. Patrick confessed his crime to
investigators but did not give a reason, Broward Sheriff's Office
Spokesperson Veda Coleman-Wright said.
Patrick, who has a tattoo of a swastika
and a snake on his back, told the police that he had been targeting
gay men to rob them since leaving prison a month earlier.
A Broward County jury convicted Patrick
of first-degree murder on Friday. A decision on his punishment –
death or life in prison – is expected shortly after a May 11
recommendation from jurors.
On the Net: Gay weekly South Florida
Blade is at www.floridablade.com