Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, June 30, 2011
How many murderers walk the streets?: As one of Thomas Abbott's sisters, I can speak for my family that it really does not matter why Thomas' murder was not worth investigating by the Phoenix Police Department ("Broken Rainbow," Paul Rubin, July 16).
What matters is that the citizens of Phoenix have public servants who pick and choose which victims are worth seeking justice for and which are not.
One must wonder just how many arrogant, successful murderers walk your streets because of this, and, further, just how many victims' loved ones must move on with no answers and no justice.
My hope is that Thomas' story creates a legacy of change in your city's police and medical examiner's departments.
We say thanks to the 67 witnesses who came forward with courage and truth to our family to help find justice for Thomas. They are our heroes. We all stood together and found our justice in discovering the truth — even though your police department did not care to try.
Martha Novorr, Dallas
Lawyer slams the PPD: I was one of the attorneys who represented [Tom Abbott's sister] Elizabeth Viviano in this matter. Paul Rubin's article on this tragic case was very accurate. However, there is only so much room in any newspaper for an investigation this complicated.
Unfortunately, there were many other police mistakes, intentional omissions, or outright lies not detailed in the article.
Whether police intentionally did not investigate this case through sheer incompetence or because of discrimination against the gay population, the people of Maricopa County should be alarmed that a police department this incompetent or prejudiced could eventually allow their or their loved one's murder to also go unchallenged.
Larry Simmons, Dallas
Waiting for justice: I totally agree with Tom's sister Martha when she [says] in your story that had the victim been a beautiful young woman, the investigation would have been handled differently.
I also can't believe that, with all of this evidence, [authorities] can just close the case and hope the relatives quiet down and move on. This is outrageous and must not stand.
Hopefully, justice for Tom will come sooner rather then later.
Trudy Harris Weissmann, Tampa
Sickened by the injustice: After reading this article. I'm appalled at the mishandling of this case by the legal system in Phoenix.
Having known Thomas most of my life, he was a gentle, sweet, loving person who did not deserve to die this way.
Where is justice in this case? If it had not been for his family's pursuing leads and uncovering the details outlined in this article, little would have been done by the police or coroner's office.
The citizens of Arizona should be outraged.
Kim Ziprik, Atlanta
Homophobia or incompetence? Maybe both: It's hard to believe that a professional police agency could screw up a case as badly as the Phoenix Police Department screwed up the one involving the death of Thomas Abbott.
Was it homophobia or was it gross incompetence? In my mind, it was both.
Cops are lazy by nature, so they aren't looking for trouble when somebody winds up dying. They figured they could ignore this one, since the guy had obvious medical problems, including alcoholism.
But it didn't help that the victim was gay and that his ex-lover reported the crime. Even if it was a murder, the cops probably thought, why should we bother with this? They probably thought nobody would care about another dead queer.
Well, they were wrong. A lot of people care, particularly Thomas' beloved family. I pray that they will get real justice for their obviously murdered loved one — but I wouldn't bet on that.
M.C. Lambert, Phoenix
It's complicated, Michael: It must feel really good to be able to play both sides of the fence, the way you folks do at New Times.
One week you run a feature article that disparages an alleged homosexual relationship between two sheriff's deputies ("Love Connection," Ray Stern April 14), and, shortly thereafter, you run a feature that decries the poor manner in which the murder of a local gay man was handled by the police.
I'm trying to square your portrayal of these two issues in my mind because, on the one hand, you mock a homosexual relationship and, on the other, you demand justice for a murdered homosexual.
At least your reporting is consistent on one score: It's obvious you'll never pass up an opportunity to skewer the cops.
Michael Smith, Phoenix
What's gay got to do with it anyway?: What makes [people] think the man's sexual orientation had anything to do with police failures, beside his sisters saying so?
Half the murders in Phoenix go unsolved. [Is it because] they're all gay?
That said, I hope the article forces a re-examination of the case and a possible prosecution. My sympathies to the family. [Thomas Abbott] seems to have been a genuinely decent and loved man.
Kit Carson, Phoenix
Human mistakes are the real culprit: This whole thing is sketchy, at very best, and very telling, at worst. Is it a homicide? If it isn't, the details reek of the real possibility — that much is for sure.
So many mistakes were made initially by the police that getting a conviction is a long shot.
We're all humans. We all make mistakes. So if there is trouble with this case, I think human nature is the culprit, not any kind of cover-up.
Jack Harrington, city unavailable
Fond memories of the victim: As I read this article, my mind was flooded with sweet memories of growing up with Tommy in Tampa. He was funny, gentle, introspective, private. What a horrendous death for such a gentle and loving man.
Sadly, now we learn that he [may have been] the victim of known domestic violence and that the very people he would turn to for protection showed such a pattern of complete and utter disregard for his life.
I would think the people of Arizona would not rest until those involved in this tragic case are themselves investigated and held to account for their handling of the matter.
Roberta Creighton, city unavailable
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