A 14-year-old Nevada teen was killed by his father because of his sexual orientation after several years of abuse, the boy’s former foster mother said to KSNV .
Sonja Jones, the former foster mother for Giovanni Melton, is asking authorities to “throw the book” at the father Wendell Melton, 53 for the alleged horrific hate crime. The teen was subjected to mental, spiritual and physical abuse for many years, she revealed.
“I hope he never sees the light of day,” Jones said to KSNV. “I hope every day when he looks in the mirror, he sees his son’s face.”
Melton fatally shot his son last Thursday in an apartment where the teen lived by himself, police in Henderson, Nevada said. The heartbreaking tragedy called attention to the bullying and senseless violence that is directed at LGBTQ individuals.
Melton was arrested at the scene on felony charges of open murder, child abuse and firearms possession, the Henderson Police Department said in a Facebook post. He was “booked into the Henderson Detention Center” and an investigation has been opened, they explained.
The father had a turbulent history with his son, according to Jones. He had previously found his son with a boyfriend and brandished a gun.
“He hated the fact that his son was gay,” Jones added. “I’m sure that inside of his mind, he would rather have a dead son than a gay son.”
The teen’s tragic death sheds light on how hypermasculinity is passed down from male to male, Jaime Grant, executive director of PFLAG National, an LGBTQ family and ally organization said in a statement given to NBC News.
“We have a crisis of masculinity in this country — it’s obvious across the board in this report and in the unrelenting reports on sexual assault and also gun violence,” Grant said. “Many ‘normative’ messages men learn as they are growing up about stuffing their feelings, policing other men’s gender and sexuality, asserting ‘dominance’ from the board room to the bedroom, also show up in their lives as fathers.”