Saturday, February 21, 2009

Boca Raton man faces death penalty in murder of gay man

By Tonya Alanez

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

4:41 PM EST, February 20, 2009

A Boca Raton man faces the death penalty after a Broward County jury convicted him Friday of murdering a gay man he targeted for robbery, prosecutors Shari Tate said.

Eric Kurt Patrick, 45, confessed to the September 2005 slaying of Steven Schumacher.

The jurors will return to court May 11 to recommend whether Patrick should spend the rest of his life in prison or be executed for beating, hog-tying, gagging and strangling Schumacher, 72, in his Oakland Park home.

Schumacher, an openly gay man who frequented the Cubby Hole bar in Fort Lauderdale, befriended Patrick about a week before the murder, according to a police report.

Patrick, previously convicted of carjacking with a deadly weapon and burglary, had been released from prison the month before the attack on Schumacher.

When Patrick was arrested for the killing, Broward Sheriff's Office homicide detectives described him as "an opportunist" who had been targeting gay men in order to rob them.

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