1669: Roux de Marsilly, employer of the Man in the Iron Mask? 1908: Two Persian constitutionalists

1989: Sean Patrick Flanagan, self-hating gay man

June 23rd, 2010 Headsman

On this date in 1989, Sean Patrick Flanagan was executed for murdering two gay men in Nevada.

The ex-Marine been picked up for jaywalking in California, when he went and confessed to the slightly more problematic offense of murder. This is why you should never say anything to police when arrested.

But Flanagan had a whole confessional, expiation thing going on. Besides admitting to strangling two older men with “the thought that I would be doing some good for our society,” he dropped his appeals and volunteered for execution.

I’m just as wicked and nasty as Ted Bundy. I believe if I had not been arrested, I would have ended up being another Ted Bundy against homosexuals.


As is so often the case, the hatred that drove Flanagan to murder was actually directed inward — since the killer himself was also gay. Characterizing his own execution as “proper and just” and staying nose-deep in the Bible until injection time was all part of his uncertain journey of redeeming or defining or accepting himself.

The subsequent headlines were all about how Flanagan checked out of this world telling prosecutor and execution witness Dan Seaton, “I love you.”

“‘He means it in terms of Christian love and forgiveness,” Seaton explained later. No gay stuff.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Hanged,Homosexuals,Lethal Injection,Murder,Nevada,USA,Volunteers

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8 thoughts on “1989: Sean Patrick Flanagan, self-hating gay man”

  1. Greg O says:

    I was stationed with Sean at LTA Tustin.We shared a cubicle for a year and a half starting in 1981.Sean was a good guy and a stand up Marine.I never saw the guy that killed those men.The Sean I knew took pride in his job and worked out every day.I saw the show that had an extensive interview and ended with his execution.It was very sad and surreal to say the least.My prayers go out to Sean,his Son,Wife and Family.Siempre Fi Brother

  2. Greg O says:

    I was stationed with Sean in 1980-81.we shared a cubicle at MCAS El Toro for a year and a half.I knew Sean as a good guy and a good Marine.He was an avid weightlifter at the time and nice guy.Truth be told he did have a fairly short fuse back then but that is not uncommon in the Corps.I considered him a friend.I remember seeing a story and interview that ended with his execution when it happened .It was very surreal and very sad.I didn’t know the Sean that did those things.only the good American that served his country and a good friend.My prayers are with him and his son,Wife and family.Sempre Fi brother.

  3. janita says:

    I knew Sean back in school in Michigan….We were not extremely close friends but I would consider him one. In school I remember him being friendly,but reserve and somewhat funny at times. I took drivers training with him at 15 and I remember sitting with him in the back seat making jokes and laughing the whole time.
    I was shocked to learn of this years later, then I re-thought how things were in school…..
    I remember many kids would like to pick at him to get him mad, because he would try holding it all in and turn real red in the face. The bullys thought that was entertaining. Sad
    Things probably were stirring in him back then but he didnt get the help he needed.
    I cant imagine him doing the things that he suposedly did to his victims, but anger can make people do crazy things that they have no control of.
    I choose to remember him making me laugh and having fun with him and am glad that he excepted his fate the way he did. Truely sad for the victims.
    I think Sean knew he had a beast living inside him even back in the day, and knew his end was the only way to end it.

  4. Thomas P. Flanagan says:

    I’m Sean’s only son and all I can say is this is the coldest article written about him. Excerpts from other news articles were picked and chosen to piece this together and by what I have read in other news sources the information is accurate but the authors humorous undertone is despicable.

    ‘Silvia’ – Thank you, you are right. None of the other articles with the same information bothered me but you hit it dead on.

    ‘KYGB’s’ comment was written much more sympathetically for what the situation really was, a trouble person going through very hard times, making wrong decisions and then realizing he needed to stop himself.

    I’m speaking with my mom right this moment learning more about my dad then I ever have in my 27 years of living. It is a sad story of a broken family, rejection, alcoholism, homelessness, 2 kids (my sister and I) and so much more.

    Nothing justifies taking another life and I’m glad he accepted the punishment that he wanted and deserved.

  5. John Perazzo says:

    I was in Las Vegas when a homeless man came to the church where I was working and told me of bodies he found in a dumpster down the block. No one else would listen to his story. I turned out to be the guys Sean murdered. By the time the cops came to check out my story, the dumpsters had been emptied and they didn’t believe me, either. Later, when a detective called to get a statement, my homeless friend was likely shoveling horse manure in a stable in San Juan Capistrano!

  6. KYGB says:

    Funny John. Cool Urban Dictionary reference.

    I thought the post was OK (I’m Non-Gay)

    Sean Flanagan was a troubled, strange kid. He really committed “suicide by the system”. He really could have stacked up dozens of victims, ala Ted Bundy. He knew he had a real problem and, in effect, stopped himself.

    He confessed and rejected all his appeals. He was executed within a couple years of his arrest and trial. He couldn’t stand his own self-loathing and violent acting out. So he opted out of life.

  7. John says:

    I, on the other hand (and, yes, I am gay), thought “At least he didn’t say ‘I love you. No homo.'”


  8. Silvia says:

    I think it’s a very sad story and perhaps didn’t deserve the humorous tone of the post.

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