3 min

Compassion for a killer

It’s confusing to feel compassion for a confessed killer. Especially one who admits he killed a gay man after having sex with him in his apartment.

At least that’s what Kenneth Jensen initially told police.

When he first met officers for questioning in January 2007 — less than a week after George Ammon Kong was found dead in his bathtub wearing only socks and underwear with a hair dryer cord wrapped around his neck — Jensen painted a picture of a hook-up gone wrong.

He’d found Kong online, he said, and gone over to his place that night. They’d talked for a bit. Kong said he preferred to give than to receive. Jensen told police he was fine with that arrangement; that, in fact, it still worked for him.

He and Kong then had anal sex in Kong’s bedroom, he told police.

Then Jensen presumably snapped. Or something.

He started choking Kong from behind and wouldn’t let go, his BC Supreme Court trial heard two weeks ago. He dragged Kong to the bathtub, dumped him in and filled the tub with water.

Then he stole some of Kong’s stuff, gathered his bedding and stuffed it into a dumpster, the court heard.

Jensen initially couldn’t or wouldn’t explain to police why he choked Kong to death but he certainly seemed remorseful. He wrote a letter of apology to Kong’s family immediately after his arrest.

He didn’t want to kill Kong, he told police. “It’s just something that happened,” he said, later adding he wished he could “take it back, but I can’t.”

When I first heard the story my heart went out to Kong. Here was a gay man just living his life, openly and honestly. Surfing a hook-up site, hoping for a little hot sex like so many others. He sure as hell didn’t deserve to die.

But the more I heard about Jensen the more I began to feel for him too.

Here is a second life destroyed by Kong’s death. A seemingly closeted gay man whose friends and family all think he’s straight. Who has sex with another man and then presumably in a fit of self-loathing turns on his fuck buddy. And himself.

Now Jensen has killed a man and is likely going to spend at least the next decade of his life paying for it in prison. All presumably because he couldn’t accept his attraction to men; because he couldn’t accept himself.

Without a doubt Jensen failed Kong horribly. But who failed Jensen?

Who taught him to hide his true feelings and repress his natural impulses?

My compassion for the killer deepened last week when he stopped the trial and changed his plea to guilty.

He must have known there was no way out. Despite his lawyer’s best efforts, Justice Mary Humphries (who incidentally also presided over the adults’ trial in the Aaron Webster case) ruled Jensen’s confessions to police were fairly obtained and therefore admissible at trial.

So Jensen decided to own his guilt and face his punishment head-on.

He admitted he was a murderer.

But he refused to admit he’s attracted to guys.

Instead, in a sudden twist, Jensen made a new statement to his lawyer saying he killed Kong but only after going there to rob and extort him as he’d allegedly done to other gay men before him. Kong resisted, they got into a fight and he killed him, Jensen said.

Gone were any admissions of sex, negotiations about giving and receiving and willingly taking it up the ass in Kong’s bedroom.

Jensen said he lied to police during his initial questioning and again after his arrest. He says he’s telling the truth now.

I don’t buy it. This is the same guy who volunteered to police that receiving still works for him? The same guy who discarded all the bedding, presumably because they had sex in it?

I mean, maybe my gut feeling is wrong and I just spent two weeks feeling compassion for a predator who deserves none of my sympathy. But I just don’t think so.

I think Jensen told the truth the first time but can’t face being branded a homo now.

I guess it’s easier for some people to admit they’re murderers than to admit they’re gay.