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Jason Mattison, African American Gay Teen Murdered

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mattisonThe murder of openly gay teen Jason Mattison Jr., 15, has shaken the city of Baltimore.

On Nov. 10, police found Mattison raped, gagged and stabbed to death in a closet at his aunt’s house. The main suspect is Dante Parish, 35, a family friend and convicted felon who served only 10 years of an original 30-year sentence for an earlier crime.

The Nov. 18 edition of The Baltimore Sun published the article, “Many unanswered questions in killing of youth.” It provided the details about this horrid crime:

The day Jason's body was found, it was Couplin who called police, at 3 a.m. Nov. 10. She reported that someone had broken into the house and stolen a television from the living room. A police officer came and wrote a larceny report.

Couplin called police again at 5:09 a.m., saying that she saw blood on a banister leading to the second floor. She also reported Jason missing.

Police found his body in the back of a second-floor closet. Charging documents say that "several witnesses were identified and positively identified defendant Dante Parrish as the person responsible for this act." Couplin said she now believes the missing television was a diversion to make it look like a break-in.

Police arrested Parrish two days later at a convenience store on Moravia Road. A department spokesman said Parrish confessed to the killing the next day and is being held without bail.

The article added there were still many unanswered questions regarding this case:

Did Jason leave his mother's house and move in with his aunt, as his grandmother suggested? Or was he just visiting on that fateful day, as a cousin said? And why did people in his aunt's house open their door to the suspect, a convicted killer released early from prison because of flaws in his case?

"From now on, we do have to take more care in who we let in and who we trust," said Jason's cousin, Laquanna Couplin, who lives in the house on Llewellyn Avenue where Jason was killed.

She described Dante Parrish, 35, who is charged with first-degree murder in the case, as a longtime family friend, but she would not say whether he lived there or visited.

Mattison was described as a popular and vivacious student who was loved by his classmates:

Jason loved texting and talking, and he spent his evenings chatting with friends on MySpace.

Jason was one of the most popular kids at school, his English teacher said, always first to class, always first to the cafeteria, where students fought to sit at his table, always first to turn in his homework and always getting near-perfect grades.

"He was outspoken and excited about everything he talked about," Jones said. "Walking into school, he was the first one to share what he did over the weekend. He was very, very popular, and he was everyone's best friend."

Jason wanted to be a pediatrician, Jones said, and the only thing the two debated was Jason's constant chatter.

According to another Baltimore Sun story published on Nov. 19, Mattison’s funeral took place on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

An overflow crowd spilled out of the sanctuary and into the vestibule of a West Baltimore church Wednesday morning for the funeral of Jason Mattison Jr.

The principal at Jason's school announced a scholarship fund set up in his name. Friends and family recalled stories involving the rambunctious teenager, who had dreams of becoming a pediatrician. And the reverend of the church told hundreds of mourners that the boy's death should serve as a warning to the downtrodden neighborhood where it happened to closely watch all kids.

GLAAD will continue to watch to follow this story and provide updates.