18 March 2007

The body of the 25-year-old Winter Haven man was found on a rural road in Wahneta early Wednesday morning, said Polk County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Donna Wood. He had been stabbed about 20 times, she said.

A witness came forward and said Skipper was killed because he made an advance toward Brown, Wood said.

Authorities are treating the killing as a hate crime, according to a sheriff’s office statement.

Skipper was driving around Wahneta on Tuesday and offered Bearden a ride around midnight, the statement said. The two went back to Skipper’s house, where they smoked marijuana and discussed using Skipper’s computer to copy checks, the report said.

The two left Skipper’s house and went to another home where they met Brown and they all left in Skipper’s car, officials said. Once at the remote location, Brown and Bearden allegedly attacked Skipper in his own vehicle, stabbing him and leaving him along the roadside, Wood said.

The suspects allegedly attempted to clean the bloody vehicle and later drove Skipper’s car around and bragged to friends, Wood said.

Skipper’s car was later found abandoned on a dock near Lake Pansy in Winter Haven

from the St. Petersburg Times Story Is it just me or is this story simultaneously sad and ironic? You commit a hate crime and then leave the car by Lake Pansy?