- Views & Opinions
A circuit court judge yesterday found probable cause to order Darrick E. Anderson, 23, to stand trial for first-degree intentional homicide in the killing of Andrew Nesbitt, a popular Madison gay man.
Nesbitt died as a result of 70 knife wounds to his head, neck, torso and extremities, according to testimony presented by the Dane County medical examiner at yesterday’s preliminary hearing.
Police said that Nesbitt, who turned 46 on the day of his death, was found lying on his bed, which had been stripped to a bare mattress.
Authorities have not yet said what motivation Anderson might have had for killing Nesbitt. Anderson had a long record of run-ins with law enforcement, including harassing people on the UW-Madison campus just days before Nesbitt’s slaying. Video captured by surveillance cameras during that incident ultimately led to Anderson’s capture.
Nesbitt’s death drew national attention because he had survived a harrowing gay-bashing on Christmas Eve 2011 outside a gay bar in Oshkosh.
“He suffered a beating from two men who left him so injured he required emergency surgery to reduce swelling in his brain,” said Kathy Flores, who is now LGBTQ Statewide Anti-Violence Coordinator for Diverse & Resilient, said in a statement. “Drew worked diligently over the years to recover physically and emotionally and recently relocated to Madison. … I was heartbroken to learn that he suffered another violent attack and died as a result of that attack.”
Nesbitt’s attackers in that case, two 20-year-old men, were convicted of aggravated battery with a hate-crime enhancer. They were sentenced to two years behind bars and three years of supervision, according to online records found by HostMadison.com.
Nesbitt and others reportedly were disappointed by the light sentence given the gravity of the attack, which left him with a swollen brain as well as broken bones in his jaw and other parts of his face.
But it didn’t dampen his spirit: Following the gay bashing, Nesbitt went on to become an advocate and supporter of other LGBT victims of hate crimes.
“I couldn’t believe that this victim of a hate crime — just weeks after it happened — expressed hope and love,” Flores said. “That was an inspiration to me.”
Police have yet to determine if his death was also the result of a hate crime.
Flores said Nesbitt’s homicide was a reminder of the dangers many in the LGBT community face.
“The straight community doesn’t necessary think about their safety the same way LGBTQ folks do,” Flores said. “‘We constantly have to judge: Is this safe, is this not safe? We get that gut check where someplace doesn’t feel safe and it might deter us from going somewhere.’”