Pretty much everything is unpleasant in the story of Daeveion Mangum and Michael Castagne, and the details set to come out at trial will probably be even worse.
Here’s the backstory: Michael was a 60-year-old man who ran an amateur adult site as a side business. (His regular job was managing a wine bar.) His site’s videos tended to involve “medical exams” with other men.
And then, one day, he was found bludgeoned to death and his studio set on fire. According to police, he was killed by Daeveion, a model he’d hired and worked with on a few previous pictures. On this occasion, according to a witness, Michael had pressured the suspect to appear with another man in a scene, but Daeveion refused. The other man left the studio, but when he heard that Michael had been killed, came forward to accuse him.
The trial began this week, and prosecutors say that Daeveion killed Michael by hitting him over the head 32 times (yikes) and then setting him on fire. Gruesome. The defense maintains that he was simply acting in self-defense after Michael tried to sexually assault him.
It’s impossible to know exactly what happened, but as defenses go, it certainly reminds one of the “gay panic” strategy employed by gay bashers everywhere. Though it’s fallen out of favor these days, there was a time when all an assailant had to say was “he came on to me” to have charges dismissed.
That may not be what happened here — it’s possible that self-defense was indeed called for. But it’s hard to imagine why it was also necessary to set Michael’s body on fire after he was killed.