The Houston Chronicle is reporting that a former soldier was killed because he was atheist.
The soldier had a troubled past; apparently, he was reported missing from Ft Sill in December of 2005. It is unclear if this was a violation of his enlistment.
Brittany Green allegedly told authorities that her brother [Justin Green] said he had shot Ramirez twice because he “did not believe in God and alleged that Ramirez reached for a gun,” the complaint said. Terri Green helped her son move Ramirez’s body from the home’s garage to the shallow grave, the complaint said.
Because of the explicit report about Ramirez’s beliefs being a factor, I contacted the District Attorney covering the case and asked about the applicability of the James Byrd Hate Crimes Act of 2001. He said that the Act specifically excludes 1st-degree murder. He said the function of the Act is to “ratchet-up” the potential penalties, but that is irrelevant for 1st degree murder, so applying hate crimes charges would have no practical effect.
More updates will be posted if relevant changes arise.