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Pastor Josh Noblitt Is Sad His 13-Year-Old Suspected Assailant Will Be Tried As An Adult. But He Did Pull a Gun

The six teens accused of assaulting Pastor Josh Noblitt (pictured) and his boyfriend while they were picnicking July 2 in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park will all be tried as adults, despite four being juveniles, and face “bias crimes,” which should go a long way in convincing prosecutors to use the federal Matthew Shepard Act to treat the incident as a hate crime based on sexual orientation, for which Georgia has no state law.

The youngest suspect is 13, which Noblitt calls “heartbreaking.” According to Noblitt, the suspects approached the couple and asked, “Are y’all gay? Two men laying on a blanket. We ought to beat y’all for that.” They proceeded to rob the couple at gunpoint.

EARLIER:
Can Atlanta’s Police Department Really Promise to Keep the Gays Safe?

By:           Ryan Tedder
On:           Jul 30, 2010
Tagged: , , , , ,
  • 41 Comments
    • Ogre Magi
      Ogre Magi

      I wouldn’t feels sorry for them! I would have said “You don’t like gays,huh? Well, you had better not drop the soap in the showers!”

      Jul 30, 2010 at 9:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert
      Robert

      @Ogre Magi:

      I feel sorry for children that young who engage in such criminal behavior, it is not a sign of a healthy childhood but it is a sign of a massive social ill.

      Also, prison rape is not funny.

      Jul 30, 2010 at 10:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John S
      John S

      *subscribed*

      Jul 31, 2010 at 12:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • reason
      reason

      Yeah it’s sad to see a 13 year old acting in this manner and destroying his life. Not only is it aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, but the hate crime will knock it up a notch. The tea partyesque baby boomers are crying to slash spending across the board except their precious social security and medicare while the education system rots out from the core. This is what happens, you get a ton of sad stories, rudderless children. It’s time to let the Bush tax cuts expire on the wealth and once the economy recovers on all earners. Failing children don’t only destroy themselves they terrorize everyone and we need to put a stop to it.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 12:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MSZP
      MSZP

      Ironic that it will be more African-Americans prosecuted under Federal anti-hate laws. Not quite what liberal America so naively imagined.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 3:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MSZP
      MSZP

      But I agree with Noblitt that 13-year-olds shouldn’t be tried as adults.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 3:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      Hey, do you know what’s heartbreaking? Hate crimes and their victims. Hey, do you know who I have sympathy for? Kids who make the right choices. Who live in the same neighborhoods, and in similar circumstances as these punks yet have the good sense to not commit hate crimes. They deserve my attention and sympathy.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 7:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • L.
      L.

      @Kev C: Um. You’re questioning the very *victim’s* own choice of words. If *he* finds the situation heartbreaking, who are you to judge?

      Jul 31, 2010 at 7:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • L.
      L.

      (To be more precise: it is one thing to have an opinion about situations – this is of course perfectly fine – but it is quite another to question Noblitt’s very own feelings about the incident.)

      Jul 31, 2010 at 7:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      @L.: I know he’s the victim, and clearly he seems to be suffering some sort of PTSD or Stockholm Syndrome. I would recommend he get the help he needs.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 8:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Samwise
      Samwise

      @MSZP: Uh… where does it say anywhere that these kids were African-American? I don’t see any mention of their race(s?) in either news article.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 10:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rick Brannon
      Rick Brannon

      This is why gay people should carry guns.

      Think about it: ARMED GAYS DON’T GET BASHED!

      Check out http://www.pinkpistols.org for more info.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 10:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • pete
      pete

      @Samwise: Um, have you ever been to Atlanta? The place is over-run with them!

      Jul 31, 2010 at 10:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • whatever
      whatever

      @MSZP: Don’t jizz in your pants too much over this, conservatard.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 12:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • whatever
      whatever

      @Samwise: Just some racist gays like Pete up top, getting their hate on.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 12:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • brett
      brett

      First off no child under 16 should be tried as an adult. They aren’t adults and I would like to think we can fix a 13 year old child.

      Secondly, the whole hate crime designation is a bunch of hooey. The only thing that should be considered is 1)was it pre-mediated (which most race, sexual etc based crimes would fit into) 2)due to negligence or non-intentional. The hat crime designation is stupid and should be considered un-constitutional. If hate crime sentencing is allowed then pre-meditated attempted murder should have the same sentence as actual first degree murder. We shouldn’t give bad shooters a break just b/c the can’t hit the target.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 1:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JohnS
      JohnS

      I live in Atlanta. I can confirm that the kids that committed this act were black, not that that really matters. Also, there is a trend of late of gay men and women being preyed upon in Midtown of all places. Between the Screen on the Green incident, this, & the man that was beaten into a coma up near the Eagle, this is worrisome to say the least. It used to be that Midtown was our little bastion of civility and relative equality in a big red state. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I would like to know any gang or organizational affiliations that the perpetrators of these crimes have. Also, I couldn’t agree more that we need to start exercising our 2nd Ammendment rights and arming ourselves. After a few people are stopped dead in their tracks while committing a hate crime or preying on gay people for any other reason, we might not seem like such easy targets. The only problem I have with this is in Atlanta, I can’t fathom how the press and certain others would react if a middle-aged white man shot and killed a 13 year old black youth, even in self-defense. As for these kids being tried as adults, I don’t have a problem with it. Even a 13 year old should know that pointing a gun at someone is wrong, but I respect Pastor Noblitt’s position.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 2:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ogre Magi
      Ogre Magi

      @Robert: Prison rape is funny if it happens to violent homophobes!

      Jul 31, 2010 at 4:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DR
      DR

      @Kev C:

      You are clearly projecting.

      This guy is a minister. He recognizes that prison is no place for a thirteen year old. The fact that Georgia even considers prison for a child that young is outrageous. I work with at-risk youth for a living, and I can tell you that putting him in prison at thirteen will only make him a better criminal. Guys like Noblitt have it right, you have it wrong.

      @Ogre Magi:

      No, it’s never funny, especially when talking about children you. Think about your teenage niece or nephew getting raped in prison and see how funny the joke becomes.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 8:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JohnS
      JohnS

      The kids aren’t going to adult prison until they are typically 17 or 18. They will serve their teenage years in a youth detention facility just like any other juvenile offender. And at 13, this kid seems like he’s already a pretty good criminal so I don’t see any loss to society by putting this kid away for a significant period of time. Not to mention that the kid committed an adult crime, life’s a bitch, but even children have to serve their dues. If this kid or his cronies had killed the pastor, would you all be advocating a youth home and counseling? Because that was as likely an outcome of this incident as what actually happened.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 8:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      @DR: You forget one important fact; Sociopaths/psychopaths are almost impossible to redeem. It’s a matter of brain formation. Once a person becomes a sociopath, it becomes hard wired. When you find a solution for handling sociopaths, please let the medical community know.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 9:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MSZP
      MSZP

      Whatever : Actually, I’m not Conservative. I’m independent, and I criticize extremists on both ends of the spectrum. But you have to admit that it is ironic that the first people (possibly) prosecuted under Federal hate crime laws will be African-Americans, possibly in both Atlanta and in Staten Island, NY.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 10:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MSZP
      MSZP

      Don’t jump all over Noblitt, guys. He is a minister, and he is taking the proper position over the age thing. For his own conscience. You don’t have to agree with him, but do understand him.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 10:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Queer Supremacist
      Queer Supremacist

      These homophobic ghetto trash motherfuckers need to be tried as adults, convicted, put in jail FOREVER, and raped bareback with no lube until their shitty little rectums bleed and need stitches.

      @Rick Brannon: That site hasn’t been updated in years. It needs to be.

      If people can be forced to buy health insurance, then every gay man and woman in this country should be required by law to own a gun and receive thorough training.

      Jul 31, 2010 at 11:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ogre Magi
      Ogre Magi

      @MSZP: True saying shit like that is probably a job requirement for him. On the other hand if someone asked me what should be done with those attackers I would have said
      “Roast ‘em alive, or stew them in a pot;

      Fry them, boil them and make them hot

      Bake and toast ‘em, fry and roast ‘em!

      Till clothes blaze, and eyes glaze;

      Till hair smells and skins crack,

      Fat melts, and bones black

      In cinders lie

      Beneath the sky! “

      Jul 31, 2010 at 11:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dawson
      Dawson

      There is no way the prosecutors are going to try for a hate crimes attachment. They simply aren’t that stupid. You have to remember that prosecutor is still an elected office. Do you honestly think a prosecutor in GA is going to be re-elected if they have sent a 13 year old to a double sentencing because of a hate crime targeted at gays? They went for the adult trial simply because of the violence in the park angle. As long as prosecutor remains an elected office, prosecutors will remain to busy playing politics to worry about justice. Also, attaching hate crimes would make it harder for these kids to actually be convicted because no jury is going to want to take 20-30 years of the life some teenager just because he robbed someone in a park.

      Aug 1, 2010 at 8:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DR
      DR

      @Kev C:

      And who said these are sociopaths, a specific psychiatric designation? Many youth who engage in violent offenses CAN be rehabilitated, I’ve seen it first hand. There are a lot of things which need to change, but like the good pastor, I refuse to quit on a thirteen year old child.

      Unless you are an expert in child psych or the juvenile delinquency system, you really don’t know what you’re talking about.

      Aug 1, 2010 at 8:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      @DR: I know plenty of what I’m saying, having worked in psychiatry. Many criminals fit the defintion of a sociopath. The may show regret at their actions, but feel no remorse or empathy for the victim. Younger kids have a better chance of rehabilition, but not always. And you can only rehabilitate those who want to be rehabilitated. No amount of hoping, faith, support, guidance is going to change common sociapaths.

      Aug 1, 2010 at 11:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • whatever
      whatever

      @MSZP: How is that “ironic”? The law as written protects gays against bias crimes perpetrated against them. It does not say, “Those prosecuted under this law shall be white people only.” What the hell is your point?

      State hate crime laws have prosecuted people of color numerous times.

      I think you are a conservative because blacks are prosecuted under this law, and all you can do is gleefully rub your hands together.

      Aug 1, 2010 at 11:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DR
      DR

      @Kev C:

      Then, if you have worked in the field as you claim, you also know that the diagnosis of “sociopath”, more clinically known as “antisocial personality disorder” is rare, and generally speaking, children are not to be diagnosed as such absent extreme circumstances. I can honestly say that in all my years of practice in the criminal justice system, I have encountered very few true sociopaths, especially in the juvenile justice system.

      You know nothing about this child, and calling him a sociopath is out of line. You have no idea if this child understands the magnitude of what happened, how he feels, or whether he’s capable of being rehabilitated. The good Pastor has it correct; we don’t need to turn this kid into a better criminal.

      Aug 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      @DR: I don’t know what type of surrogate parenting you do for these “at risk youth”, but I do know that crime rates are rising, homophobic violence is increasing in society. And that’s a job for law enforcement, for police to get tough on crime, not pamper them like pretend mommies.

      Aug 1, 2010 at 8:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DR
      DR

      @Kev C:

      I don’t surrogate parent for them. I zealously advocate that we not treat them like miniature adults, because they aren’t, and anyone who works in the psych field knows that. The brain is not fully developed until sometime in the early twenties, and to cheer that a thirteen year-old child could potentially end up serving *any* jail time is an appalling position. He is not an adult, and does not need to be treated like one.

      Aug 1, 2010 at 8:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      @DR: I’m not judging what you do, but I think it can be misconstrued to appear like gay adult men such as yourself are targetting and troubling vulnerable inner-city youth. Let the police do their job and support them when they do the right things.

      Aug 1, 2010 at 10:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeremy
      Jeremy

      Just so everyone is aware…the United Methodist Church welcomes anyone of any sexual orientation but it does not ordain openly, active, professing homosexuals.

      Therefore, Rev. Noblitt may have to appear before the UM Church’s Judicial body for violating the vows he took at his ordination to uphold the church’s doctrine.

      Aug 1, 2010 at 10:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DR
      DR [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Kev C:

      Again, you’re projecting. Those of us who work with at-risk youth are not “targeting and troubling inner city youth” and the idea you would even suggest that someone working in the criminal system would do so speaks volumes about you. My job is to advocate for the child, and that is what I’m doing (although he isn’t one of my clients, obviously).

      The police are not the only ones involved in this. Prosecutors, defense attorneys for the child, probation officers, court-appointed guardians… there are a lot of players involved in this case. The police are not always right. The laws as written are not always right. I cannot fathom supporting a law which allows a case to be direct-filed into criminal court when the perp is this young.

      I refuse to accept, without more evidence, that this is a wise decision and that this child is irredeemable.

      Aug 2, 2010 at 10:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JohnS
      JohnS

      @Dawson: The hate crimes law is a federal law, so they wouldn’t need to worry about being reelected by Georgians. Furthermore, I think an Atlanta or Fulton County Prosecutor would try these offenders under a hate-crimes law if one existed in Georgia. Atlanta is far bluer than the rest of the states and I don’t think it would negatively affect their chances of reelection. Also, even if it were tried in a single court at one time, as far as making it harder to convict, it’s not typically an all or nothing situation, so the jury could find the youth guilty of Armed Robbery and all the other charges they are being charged with but not guilty for the Hate Crimes violation. Also, in a court of law, typically, possibly sentencing and time in jail are not supposed to even be mentioned until after the verdict. This is to help both sides, because you wouldn’t want a guilty person getting off because he can convince the jury that what he did wasn’t worth x amount of time in jail and you wouldn’t want the prosecution to say “look at this scum bag, yeah we only have circumstantial evidence but if you find him guilty I can put him away for x amount of time.”

      Aug 2, 2010 at 12:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      @DR: Here’s what I see. DR is a person who has a personal interest in troubled and homophobic youth, and gets defensive when questioned about HIS reasons for involvement with vulnerable kids. DR also appears unsympathetic towards the victims of homophobic violence. Would it be fair to say that DR is an advocate for violent homophobes? He’s on their side? Would it be fair to say that DR is a predator?

      Aug 2, 2010 at 10:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DR
      DR [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Kev C:

      I already stated I work with at-risk youth. Would you like me to post my CV?

      The VICTIM in this case doesn’t seem to believe that putting thirteen year-old children in jail is appropriate. Are you going to call him a “self-loathing faggot” while you’re throwing around the insults?

      You come from the worst camp of groupthink, because you insult anyone who doesn’t agree with you. Your attempts to paint me as some sort of predator because I don’t believe a child ought to be placed in jail show that you clearly cannot engage in rational or intelligent discussion about this topic.

      Aug 3, 2010 at 9:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      @DR: Well DR, Pastor Noblitt beat one of the kids over the head with a stick, while his friend karate chopped another in the face. Actions speak louder than christian words of forgiveness, eh?

      Aug 3, 2010 at 12:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DR
      DR [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Kev C: You mistake self-defense for forgiveness, Kev. The two are not, despite what you may think, mutually exclusive. I don’t need to become a martyr to forgive those who have wronged me, and neither does Pastor Noblitt.

      Aug 4, 2010 at 8:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • L.
      L.

      @Kev C: Writing libelous comments about others on here, and willfully trying to manipulate by “mistaking” self-defense with forgiveness, as stated above, do not a debate winner make.

      You worked in psychiatry, eh?

      Medice, cura te ipsum.

      Aug 4, 2010 at 9:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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