Gay Man Pleads Guilty to Killing Partner Sentenced to 15 Years

[From a Press Release]

BOSTON, Massachusetts – On Wednesday, September 26th, in Barnstable Superior Court, James Costello pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter of his boyfriend David Walton. Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe announced that Costello was sentenced to 15 years in state prison. Costello had been charged with murder, but pleaded to voluntary manslaughter.

In April 2011, Costello and Walton, both in their 40’s and living together in Taunton, stayed at the Coastal Acres Campground in Provincetown. On April 3rd, after an overnight altercation where prosecutors say Costello strangled Walton, police found Walton’s body at the campground. Walton’s body was found next to Costello who was asleep. Police were unable to rouse Costello and he was taken to hospital. On April 4th, Costello was arrested and charged.

Walton’s homicide is a stark reminder of the pervasiveness and potential lethality of domestic violence in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (GLBTQ) relationships. GLBTQ people experience partner abuse in their lifetime at the same alarming rates as heterosexual women.

Unfortunately, the potential support for GLBTQ survivors can be greatly hindered by the lack of seriousness attributed to the issue. A 2010 survey conducted by the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project (GMDVP) found that 82% of the GLBTQ community felt domestic violence was a priority for the community, yet only 24% could name a resource to help them if they were a victim. Curt Rogers, GMDVP Executive Director, adds that “there is a clear need for more community outreach and awareness so that GLBTQ individuals who self-identify as a victim or survivor can identify and access emergency services. That said, there is also a great need for more GLBTQ-specific domestic violence services.”

Domestic violence in all communities is about more than physical violence. It is a pattern of behaviors used by an abuser to control their partner.

If you have concerns about your relationship or the relationship of a friend, GMDVP can provide support — helping to explore the situation, identify options and make plans to increase safety. GMDVP can be reached through its 24/7 hotline 800.832.1901.

The Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project provides crisis intervention for victims and survivors of intimate partner abuse and sexual assault. GMDVP works with anyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. GMDVP’s offerings include education, advocacy, and direct services including a 24-hour hotline, an emergency safe-home and legal advocacy. GMDVP has been providing services for 19 years and serves Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. 24 hour hotline: 800.832.1901

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