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Man killed stepfather because he objected to gay guest being invited into family home

Christian Smith, 23, shot Dennis McKenzie, 43, three times after objecting to the sexuality of a guest.

2021-10-22

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels

A man in the United States shot his own stepfather because he objected to the sexual orientation of a guest he had brought into his house, a court has heard.

Christian Smith, 23, is charged with murder after killing Dennis McKenzie, 43, in Woolwich township in Gloucester, New Jersey.

Smith is said to have been staying at his mother and stepfather's home during a celebration when the incident took place on 9 October.

"It started over an act of bias"

According to Assistant Prosecutor Dana Anton, as reported by The New York Post and NJ.com, Smith didn't want to invite someone who was gay into the home saying it was a "house of god". He's also reported to have used a homophobic slur.

During an argument, McKenzie is said to have "superficially" punched Smith, who retaliated by taking a Glock 9 gun out and shooting McKenzie three times. He died at the scene. 

Anton went on to say: "This argument that proceeded the murder, it started over an act of bias and an act of bias intimidation where he is using a slur about somebody’s sexual orientation."

Smith's legal representative, Katherine Constantine Blinn, has argued that the shooting was not intentional and that more forensic evidence is needed. She said the weapon, which had been legally purchased, was disassembled by Smith before the police arrived. 

She said this suggested the death was "accidental".

Superior Court Judge Mary Beth Kramer has declined to grant Smith pretrial release, despite pleas from his relatives, who spoke highly of him. Kramer said Smith "represents a danger to the community."

Smith is due to appear in court again on 2 December.

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