Tyler remembers brutal murder of young gay man

By Layron Livingston - bio | email

TYLER, TEXAS (KLTV) - It was November 30, 1993. Three men kidnapped Nicholas West, 23, from Bergfeld Park. They robbed him, beat him and drove him to a remote Smith County location where they shot him, multiple times.

In the days following West's murder, thousands of protestors from across East Texas and the country made their way to Bergfeld Park, speaking out against the brutal crime.

"I was in living Boston, and I read it on the front page of the New York Times," said Glenn Mallory.

He called the killing a "model for hate crimes of the worst sort."

"I would visit Tyler and drive by this park, and it would usually flash through my mind," he said. "I'd try not to look at it."

Mallory said he'd occasionally wonder what West's last hours were like. West's three attackers would eventually be arrested and convicted. Two were sentenced to death, and one is still serving a life sentence for the murder.

The crime stayed in the back of Mallory's mind for 17 years. A few months ago, he had an idea.

"This situation with Mr. West was a situation where we had people who chose to use their hate and their intolerance of others to end someone's life," said Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass.

Bass spoke during a special ceremony commemorating West's murder. Tyler Area Gays joined with other community members to dedicate a memorial stone in the young man's name.

It was part of the World Aids Day observance in Tyler.

Mayor Bass proclaimed, December 1, 2010 as World Aids Day and Access to Human Rights Day in the city of Tyler.

The memorial stone will be permanently placed in the park with a special inscription: Nicholas West died November 30, 1993. We will remember.

"Because of we've honored this young man who was brutally killed 17 years ago, nothing like that will ever happen again," said Troy Carlyle, founder of Tyler Area Gays.

"As a community, we are aware that there are people that are not tolerant of others, and we're not willing to accept that," said Mayor Bass.

A candlelight vigil was also held, Wednesday evening in West's honor.

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