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US: 'Gay panic defence' in stepdad murder

Fri 30 Nov 2007 In: International News

A 36-year-old man from Torrance, Los Angeles had testified that his stepfather's homosexual advances led to a fatal fight and killed he killed him in self-defence. Ashton Hurst told the court details about popular baseball coach Robert Gauci's homosexual advances which led to the fatal confrontation. Hurst's testimony in court this week differed from some of his previous accounts of the February 2005 homicide, including one he gave his mother and sister during a recorded jailhouse conversation on the night Gauci died aged 44. He said then that he retrieved a butcher's knife and stabbed Gauci in the back of the neck because he didn't want Gauci to have brain damage and because no one would believe that Gauci had previously sexually assaulted him, and was trying to again. Hurst could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted of murder by the Torrance Superior Court jury of seven men and five women. Hurst said he first met Gauci in 1996 and initially liked him, even though Gauci "had a little bully attitude." During questioning by his attorney, Henry Salcido, Hurst said he didn't think Gauci was the "absolute best match" for his mother, Melba Gauci. Nevertheless, he paid for their Lake Tahoe wedding, and walked his mother down the aisle. As the "man of the house," he said he felt it was his duty. Hurst had his own moving company, and was doing well financially. But in 1997, he moved in with his mother and stepfather at their home in the 2200 block of 232nd Street so he could save money to buy his own house. It wasn't long after that, he said, that Gauci sexually assaulted him by putting drugs in his food and raping him while he slept. Hurst said he woke up late the next day, feeling unusually "groggy" and with a thin layer of lubricant on his backside. He said he initially didn't believe Gauci had sexually violated him, but he knew someone had. Hurst said he told his mother, who was on a trip at the time, that he thought Gauci was a "pervert."    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Friday, 30th November 2007 - 9:11am

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