2006_04_valecash.jpgPolice are still investigating the murder of 61 year old William Oliver, whose stabbed body was found in Prospect Park on Saturday. Oliver was found near the Vale of Cashmere, a secluded area near Grand Army Plaza (here's a map of Prospect Park). He was described as an "avid walker" by his siblings; Oliver usually shuttled between his brother's and sister's homes by walking in the park. The Vale has been a gay cruising spot in the park, leading police to suspect the death may be hate crime related. While Oliver's family is not sure if he was gay, Clarence Patton of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project told the NY Times that "at least 10 percent of victims of anti-gay violence are not gay, but rather are targeted in places thought to be gathering spots for gay men or lesbians," saying, "At the end of the day, a man is dead, and it doesn't really matter."

In 2000, a man dressed as a ninja attacked four gay men over two weeks in that area. In 2003, a number of women were attacked near Prospect Park.

Photograph of fountain in the Vale of Cashmere from Forgotten NY