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Watch: Survivor of Lesbian Couple Shot Execution Style Opens Up on 'The View'

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Oct 30, 2019
Kristene Chapa during her appearance on 'The View'
Kristene Chapa during her appearance on 'The View'  (Source:Screen cap / 'The View' / ABC News)

Seven years ago a young lesbian couple were sexually assaulted and then shot execution-style in Texas. One of them survived - and now she's gone on "The View" to talk about the experience, and how her testimony helped put a suspect behind bars.

A 2014 article at Autostraddle recalled how Kristene Chapa, 18 at the time, and her 19-year-old girlfriend, Mollie Olgin, had gone to a park in Portland, Texas when a man approached them, sexually assaulted them at gunpoint, and then shot each of them in the head. The man left them for dead, but Kristene survived the horrific attack and, after months of physical therapy, regained the ability to speak and move.

Two years later, authorities arrested David Malcom Strickland, who was 27 at the time of his arrest. Strickland was convicted after a trial in which Chapa sat in the courtroom and courageously let her alleged attacker know she was holding him to account.

Chapa told Sunny Hostin - who also hosts the program "The Truth About Murder" - that Strickland "couldn't even look at me, which was disappointing, because I wanted him to see what he had done."

Hostin acknowledged the intimate relationship between Chapin and Olgin, and took note of the fact that the assaults on the women and the murder of Olgin were not investigated as a hate crime, despite "evidence" that anti-LGBTQ bias might have played a part. (For one thing, the attack took place during Pride.) Hostin called Chapin an "inspiration," and said that "one of the reasons why I wanted to highlight your story is because I don't think we in the media cover enough the attacks that happen in the LGBTQ+ community - we just don't. And I wanted to do something about that."

Hostin's is a sentiment that many in the community might welcome. The case generated a wave of support around America. As reported here at EDGE back in 2012, vigils for Kristene Chapa and Molly Olgin took place across the country as the LGBTQ community rallied on their behalf.

Noted EDGE back in 2012:

The vicious and lethal assault and the slow-footed investigation triggered both grief and outrage in the LGBT community nationwide. On June 24, Cleve Jones of San Francisco group UNITE HERE called on LGBT advocates to act. Via social media networking, queers across North America responded with spontaneous vigils in 20 cities. LGBT communities coalesced in gatherings large and small to memorialize the slain teen Mollie, and offer comfort to her survivor, Kristene, battling for life from the gunshot wound to her head.

Seven years later, Chapa still suffers physical and psychological consequences, reported ABC News. Meantime, anti-LGBTQ hate crimes have soared - particularly in the three years since the 2016 election, and with especially intense lethal violence targeting trans women of color.

Earlier this year, USA Today reported that official FBI statistics confirmed a "slight" year by year increase of violence targeting sexual minorities since 2016, but the article also noted that:

The FBI data, however, likely dramatically underestimates the true number of hate crimes against the LGBTQ community, experts, say, given flaws in the current data collection process and massive discrepancies with the much larger number of self-reported incidents.

Strickland is appealing his conviction, ABC News reported.

Watch Chapin's appearance on "The View" below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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