News » Crime

Gay N.C. College Student Charged With Murder

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Dec 5, 2012

A North Carolina gay man has been charged with murder after he allegedly shot an older man whom he had been living with in an Alabama mobile home park, the (N.C.) News & Observer reports.

Zachary Stirewalt, 21, was arrested on Saturday and charged with the murder of Daniel Turman, a 43-year-old man whom the young man had been living with in Montgomery, Ala. When police arrived on the scene, Turman was found dead after being shot several times. According to Lt. Regina Duckett of the Montgomery Police Department, the authorities arrived at Turman's mobile home at 6:30 a.m. and found that Stirewalt was still at the scene. He was taken into custody as a person of interest and later charged with the crime.

Although investigators have not released a motive, Duckett told the Observer that Turman offered the Appalachian State University student a place to stay after he recently left home and had no place to live. The newspaper points out that Stirewalt, who is a former Eagle Scout, is an aspiring commercial photographer and was an intern with Go Studios in New York City last summer. He was also an honor student and had been studying technical photography while in college.

Stirewalt worked at Go Studios from June through late August, the company's manager, Natalie Hayes, 33, told the newspaper. She said that she interviewed him for the internship -- a position that required him to help clients set up equipment and assit other photographers. She also allowed him to stay with her for more than two weeks until he found a place to live.

"He was very helpful, very responsible," she told the Obsever. "He was such a people-sweet person. He was really excited about going back to school. He said he had only a semester or two left and he was going to be certified to teach Pilates." She went on to say that she never saw Stirewalt angry or be rude.

"I can only imagine that he did it in self-defense and that was his only option," she added.

While interning, Stirewalt created a blog about his life called, where he chronicled his experiences in New York's club scene and a visit to Stonewall.

Neighbors at Sunshine Village, the trailer park where the men lived, said Turnman lived alone. According to his obituary, he has two sons.

Stirewalt is currently being held at the Montgomery County Jail and has been placed under suicide watch. His bail has been set at $75,000.


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