Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Robert Rosenkrantz letters received
Collection number: Coll2008-062
Rosenkrantz, Robert M.,
Collection Size: 2 records boxes + 2 archive
cartons. 3.3 linear feet.
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.
Los Angeles, California 90007
Abstract: Letters and cards of support addressed to gay
teenager Robert M. Rosenkrantz, who in 1985 shot and killed the schoolmate who
gay-bashed and outed him, during the first months (July 1986-March 1987) of his
prison term. Many correspondents write of their own experiences coming out, and
a few enclose photographs of themselves. The bulk of the letters date from
October through December 1986, following the publication of Dan Siminoski's
article on Rosenkrantz, "A Killing in Calabasas", in the November 11, 1986,
issue of the
Languages: Languages represented in the collection:
The collection is open to researchers. There are no access
Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in
writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner.
Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in
the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant
copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for
all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).
Box #, folder #, Robert Rosenkrantz Letters Received, Coll2008-062, ONE
National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.
Gift of James Morrow, date unknown.
Formerly boxes 103-352 and 104-027. Collection processed by Lilly
November 15, 2008.
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the
National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Robert Moshe Rosenkrantz was born in Torrance, California, on May 22,
1967, to Herbert Rosenkrantz, a lawyer, and his wife Barbara. Rosenkrantz first
recognized his homosexual feelings at age 12 or 13, but remained closeted,
filled with self-loathing and terrified of revealing his feelings to anyone. As
a high school student he was outwardly the all-American boy, the best soccer
goalie in his league, with a super-fast hot rod, running a successful
auto-detailing business, and delivering pizzas. However, through a computer
bulletin board he was beginning to contact and make friends with other gay
teens. His younger brother, Joey, overheard and taped a telephone conversation
Rosenkrantz had with another gay youth, planning a small party at the
Rosenkrantz family's beach house in Hermosa Beach for June 21, 1985, the night
of Rosenkrantz's graduation from Calabasas High School. On that night, Joey and
one of Rosenkrantz's classmates, Steve Redman, who was known for his quick
temper and hatred for homosexuals, surprised Rosenkrantz and a friend in the
bedroom of the beach house, hoping to catch them in a compromising situation. A
fight broke out, in which Redman broke Rosenkrantz's nose and burned him and
Rosenkrantz tazered his brother. Redman then outed Rosenkrantz to his parents.
When confronted by his father, who demanded the names and numbers of his gay
contacts, Rosenkrantz denied his homosexuality, but left the family home the
next morning, sleeping in his car and delivering pizzas. Fearing that his
family would reject him if Redman continued his accusations, Rosenkrantz
purchased an Uzi, intending to frighten him into recanting. On June 28, 1985,
Rosenkrantz confronted Redman demanding that he take back his accusations; when
Redman refused, Rosenkrantz shot and killed him, and then fled to Stockton,
where he lived with a family whose 16-year-old friend he had befriended. While
in Stockton, Rosenkrantz began talking by telephone with Los Angeles
psychiatrist Michael Coburn, who had been hired by his parents to be available
if he wanted to call, and with two criminal attorneys who had been hired to
defend him. Sometime around July 21, Rosenkrantz decided to surrender. On July
22, 1986, he drove to Northridge, where Coburn had him admitted to the
psychiatric unit at Northridge Hospital Medical Center and diagnosed him as
suicidal and in serious emotional trouble; early the next morning, by
prearrangement, Rosenkrantz's lawyers called the Los Angeles County Sheriff's
Department, which came to the hospital and took custody of Rosenkrantz.
On July 24, 1985, Rosenkrantz pleaded not guilty; the trial began on May
5, 1986. The case of a closeted gay man killing the person who had outed him
generated considerable publicity in both the gay and mainstream press. On June
9, 1986, Rosenkrantz was convicted of second degree murder, and on July 7,
1986, was sentenced to 17 years to life imprisonment, the maximum sentence
permitted for the crime. Rosenkrantz began serving his term on July 14, 1986,
at the California Institute for Men in Chino; on August 5, 1986, he was
transferred to the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo.
During his time in prison, Rosenkrantz was a model prisoner, expressing
remorse for his crime, earning a bachelor's degree, counseling fellow
prisoners, and reaching out to gay youth. In 1996, a three-member panel of the
Board of Prison Terms found him eligible for parole; however, despite
considerable litigation and several sharply-worded court orders for his
release, he was repeatedly denied parole by Governor Gray Davis, whose policy
as governor was against parole for convicted murderers. Finally, an order by
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Wesley on July 27, 2006, paved
the way for Rosenkrantz's release, and he was freed on August 5, 2006, after
serving 20 years in prison.
Siminoski, Dan. "A Killing in Calabasas".
Advocate, November 11, 1986.
Robert Rosenkrantz subject file, ONE National Gay & Lesbian
Scope and Content of Collection
Letters and cards addressed to Robert M. Rosenkrantz in prison, from
family and others, offering support; many correspondents write of their own
experiences coming out, and a few enclose photographs of themselves. The
earliest letter dates from July 1986, the latest from March 1987. The bulk date
from October through December 1986, following the publication of Dan
Siminoski's article on Rosenkrantz, "A Killing in Calabasas", in the November
11, 1986, issue of the
Advocate. The letters are arranged
chronologically by month. The file of miscellaneous materials includes the
September-October 1986 issue of the Violet Moon Journal, a hand-drawn calendar
for January 1987, and a menu for the final week of January 1987 at the
California Mens Colony, San Luis Obispo.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this
collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Coming out (sexual
Outing (sexual orientation)
Rosenkrantz, Robert M.,