Appalachian Trail Histories


The Public's Response

Despite the admittance of his guilt, many news outlets, especially those local to Pennsylvania, tried to humanize Stephen Roy Carr. Nearly ten years later, with the double murder of another lesbian couple in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, there is a dramatic shift in the way the press talks about these kinds of crime, let alone the killer of two innocent women.

It is also interesting to see the way the press talks about the killing of a same-sex couple versus a heterosexual couple. In September of 1990, Molly LaRue and Geoffrey Hood, a couple hiking southbound on the trail, were murdered nearly 50 miles from where Wight and Brenner were attacked. This tragedy garnered a lot more positive and effective media attention than in Wight and Brenner's case. Media outlets urged the ATC to protect hikers and improve on safety, and I was unable to find an article that attempted to humanize the alleged killer in the way that the media blatantly tried to humanize Stephen Roy Carr.

Not only this, but in Wight and Brenner's case, many articles refuse to acknowledge their relationship, which trivializes the very cause of this murder- Stephen Roy Carr's homophobia. However, in the case of LaRue and Hood, their relationship is continuously brought up without thought. Only until 1995, in an article from the Washington Post, was I able to find a journalist willing to give a voice to Brenner and to actually acknowledge the relationship between Rebecca and Claudia.