Allen R. Schindler, Jr.

Allen R. Schindler, Jr.

Infobox Military Person
name=Allen R Schindler, Jr

caption= Allen R. Schindler, Jr.
born= birth date|1969|12|13
died= death date and age|1992|10|27|1969|12|13
placeofbirth=Chicago Heights, Illinois
placeofdeath=Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan
allegiance= United States of America
branch= United States Navy
rank= E4 Radioman 3rd Class

Allen R. Schindler, Jr. (13 December 196927 October 1992) was an American Radioman Petty Officer Third Class in the United States Navy and a victim of a hate crime due to his being gay. He was killed in a public toilet in Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan by shipmate Terry M. Helvey, who acted with the aid of an accomplice, Charles Vins, in what "Esquire" called a "brutal murder".citation |last=Jameson |first=Sam |title=U.S. Sailor Sentenced to Life Imprisonment in Murder |periodical=Los Angeles Times |date=28 May, 1993 |url= |accessdate=2008-03-21 ] The case became synonymous with the gays in the military debate that had been brewing in the United States culminating in the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" bill.


Schindler was from a Navy familycitation |last=Brown |first=Chip |title=The Accidental Martyr |periodical=Esquire |date=December 1993 |url= |accessdate=2008-03-21 ] in Chicago Heights, Illinois and was serving as a radioman on the amphibious assault ship USS "Belleau Wood" in Sasebo, Nagasaki.

According to several friends of his, Schindler had complained repeatedly of anti-gay harassment to his chain of command in March and April 1992, citing incidents such as the gluing-shut of his locker and frequent comments from shipmates like "There's a faggot on this ship and he should die."citation |periodical=Human Rights Watch |title=Uniform Discrimination: The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy of the U.S. Military, section V. Discharges of Gay And lesbian Servicemembers |date=January 2003 |url= |accessdate=2008-03-21 ]

While on transport from San Diego, California to Sasebo, the "Belleu Wood" made a brief stop in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Afterwards en route to Japan, Schindler made a personal prank announcement "2-Q-T-2-B-S-T-R-8” (too cute to be straight) on secured lines reaching much of the Pacific Fleet. "When he appeared at captain’s mast for the unauthorized radio message. He requested that the hearing be closed. It was open, with two hundred to three hundred people in attendance." Schindler was put on restrictive leave and was unable to leave the ship until a few months after arriving to Sasebo and four days before his death.

The murder

Airman Apprentice Terry M. Helvey who was a member of the Ship's weather department (OA Division, Operations Department) stomped Schindler to death in a toilet in a park in Sasebo, Nagasaki. Schindler had "at least four fatal injuries to the head, chest, and abdomen," his head was crushed, ribs broken, and his penis cut, and he had "sneaker-tread marks stamped on his forehead and chest" destroying "every organ in his body"citation |title='Don't Ask, Don't Tell' – intolerable or intolerant? |periodical=Gay & Lesbian Times, Editorial |date=24 May, 2007 |number=1013 |url= |accessdate=2008-03-21 ] leaving behind a "nearly-unrecognizable corpse."citation |last=Belkin |first=Dr. Aaron |url= |title=Abandoning 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Will Decrease Anti-Gay Violence |periodical=Naval Institute: Proceedings Monthly |date=1 May, 2005 |accessdate=2008-03-21 ] Schindler was left lying on the bathroom floor until the Shore Patrol and the key witness to the incident (Jonathan W.) carried out Schindler's body to the nearby Albuquerque Bridge. Jonathan W. witnessed the murder while using the restroom. He noticed Helvey jumping on Schindler's body while singing, and blood gushing from Schindler's mouth while he attempted to breathe. The key witness was requested to explain in detail to the military court what the crime scene looked like, but would not because Schindler's mother and sister were present in the courtroom.

The details revealed

"The Navy was less than forthcoming about the details of the killing, both to the news media and to the victim's family, especially his mother, Dorothy Hajdys."citation |last=Joyner |first=Will |title=Slain Sailor's Mother As a Profile in Courage |periodical=New York Times |date=11 August, 1997 |url= |accessdate=2008-03-21 ]

In the wake of Schindler's murder, the Navy denied that it had received any complaints of harassment and refused to speak publicly about the case or to release the Japanese police report on the murder.

After Schindler's body was held by the key witness, the medical team from the Sasebo Base announced his death. The medical examiner compared Schindler's injuries to those sustained by a victim of a fatal horse trampling saying they were worse "than the damage to a person who’d been stomped by a horse; they were similar to what might be sustained in a high-speed car crash or a low-speed aircraft accident."

At the wake in the family's home in Chicago, his mother and sister could only identify him by the tattoos on his arm as his face was disfigured.

Trial and outcomes

During the trial Helvey denied that he killed Schindler because he was gay stating "I did not attack him because he was homosexual" but evidence presented by Navy investigator, Kennon F. Privette, from the interrogation of Helvey the day after the murder showed otherwise."He said he hated homosexuals. He was disgusted by them," Privette said. On killing Schindler, Privette quoted Helvey as saying: "I don't regret it. I'd do it again. ... He deserved it."

"Under a court-approved bargain in exchange for his pleading guilty to "inflicting great bodily harm," the maximum penalty is lifetime imprisonment. Under the original charge, it was death."

After the trial, Helvey was convicted of murder and the captain who kept the incident quiet was demoted and transferred to Florida. Helvey is now serving a life sentence in the military prison at the United States Disciplinary Barracks, although by statute, he is granted a clemency hearing every year. Helvey's accomplice, Charles Vins, was allowed to plea bargain as guilty to three lesser offenses, including failure to report a serious crime, and to testify truthfully against Terry Helvey and served a 78-day sentence before receiving a general discharge from the Navy.

Cultural references

The events surrounding Schindler's murder were the subject of a "20/20" episode and were portrayed in the 1997 TV film "Any Mother's Son" as well as President Bill Clinton's passing of the bill of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." [cite web
title = Any Mother's Son - About the Movie
publisher = Lifetime Television
url =
accessdate =2008-01-12
] In 1998, "Any Mother's Son" won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Made for TV Movie. [cite web
title = GLAAD Awards Part I in NYC
publisher = Planet Out
date = 1998-03-31
url =
accessdate =2002-02-12

ee also

*Barry Winchell
*Gay bashing
*Judge Advocate General's Corps
*Military law


External links

* [ Memorial Hall: Allen Schindler, Jr.]
* [ Allen Schindler, Jr. news] via Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
* [ Crime of Gay Hate, the murder of Allen Schindler]
*imdb title|id=0122951|title=Any Mother's Son
*findagrave|19592300 Retrieved on 2008-03-26

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