Gay/LGBT History Month – October 21st: The Most Hated Man In San Francisco Dan White Commits Suicide

Dan White and Harvey Milk

October 21st.

1985: Dan White, the man who murdered both Harvey Milk and San Francisco mayor George Moscone, commits suicide.

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay individual to be elected to office in California. White a fellow San Francisco supervisor assassinated San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, on Monday, November 27, 1978, at City Hall. In a controversial verdict that led to the coining of the legal slang “Twinkie defense,” White was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder. White served five years of a seven-year prison sentence.

White’s release was carried out with great secrecy. The afternoon before his scheduled release, he was transferred 200 miles south to a facility in the Tehachapi mountains north of Los Angeles. The next morning, he was handed over to the Los Angeles Parole Department which had arranged for an apartment for him somewhere in LA. He was given $200 in cash, the standard amount given to released prisoners. The press was given no information other than that White had been secretly released. His parole was not to exceed one year. He remained in hiding for a period of nine months During that period, he contacted his old friend, San Francisco Detective Frank Falzon, whom he had not talked to since the trial. White invited Falzon to join him in L.A., saying that he wanted to explain the whole thing.

The following dialogue is quoted from
“DAN WHITE’S LAST CONFESSION” by Mike Weiss.
Published September 18, 1998 in the San Jose Mercury News
 

“I really lost it that day,” White said

“You can say that again,” Falzon answered.

“No. I really lost it. I was on a mission. I wanted four of them.”

“Four?” Falzon said.

“Carol Ruth Silver–she was the biggest snake of the bunch.

And Willie Brown,” White continued. “He was masterminding the whole thing.”

Less than two years after his release, he returned to San Francisco, methodically taped a garden hose to the tailpipe of his car , stuck the other end through a car window, turned on the ignition and died. In his hands, he clutched photographs of his three children and his wife.

Dan White did not kill himself out of guilt.  He did it because his killing Harvey Milk was going to follow him for the rest of his entire life.

Scott Smith, Milk’s lover and business partner, said he was “stunned” by White’s death but not upset. “He got away with murder,” Smith said. “I suppose what goes around comes around.”

Many refer to Dan White even today as ” the most hated man in San Francisco’s history.”  

And rightfully so.

Please take a few minutes and watch the video below: Dan White News Footage Of Arrest, Trial & The White Night Riots.
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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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1 Response

  1. HartinSF says:

    still hurts

What do you think?