North Carolina

Gay veteran beaten, burned in fire allegedly set by man he met at gay bar has died

Stephen Patrick White

Stephen Patrick White Courtesy Alex Teal

Stephen Patrick WhiteCourtesy Alex Teal

Stephen Patrick White

Updated: Charges upgraded to first-degree murder.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A gay veteran who was brutally beaten and severely burned following following an alleged attack in a Greensboro, N.C., hotel room by a man he met earlier that evening at a gay bar, has died.

Stephen Patrick White, 46, died Saturday from injuries sustained in the November 9 attack, according to Greensboro police. He had been in critical condition, having suffered severe burns on more than 50 percent of his body.

His partner, Alex Teal, told the Associated Press on Friday that White had to have most of both arms amputated this week as a result of the attack.

Garry Joseph Gupton

Garry Joseph Gupton is in custody and charged with first-degree murder.

Teal said White’s health deteriorated early Saturday, when he had to be put on a ventilator, and that White died about 3 p.m.

Garry Joseph Gupton, 26, a Greensboro city employee, is in police custody and has now been charged with with first-degree murder in connection with the attack, according to Greensboro Police spokeswoman Susan Danielsen. A Greensboro city employee, Gupton had initially been charged with aggravated assault with intent to kill, according to police.

The two men reportedly met at a gay bar on Nov. 9, and when they left together in a cab around closing time, “everything seemed normal” and friendly.

Around 4:30 a.m. an employee at a Greensboro hotel called 911 to report a man screaming. Around the same time, the fire alarm was tripped. Police arrested Gupton and evacuated the hotel. Firefighters found White unconscious and badly burned in a fourth-floor room.

Guilford County Assistant District Attorney Howard Newman said it appeared White was struck with a telephone, television and another small piece of furniture. He said he expected to file arson charges, as the fire appeared to be intentionally set.

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White was reportedly found found naked, robbed and beaten, in addition to life-threatening injuries from the fire.

Danielsen said there is currently no indication the incident was motivated by White’s sexual orientation, and that they don’t believe the attack was a hate crime.

White served in the U.S. Army during the late 1980s, then spent several years with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Air Marshal Service.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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