Former Kentucky Gay Health Leader Murdered

November 16, 2006

Commonwealth of Kentucky -- Dr. Emery Lane, the former president of Community Health Trust, which focused on Louisville's LGBT community and People with AIDS has been found beaten to death in his home.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. Lane, 75, was found by his housekeeper. He had been beaten with a blunt instrument police said. Cash, other items and his Jaguar were stolen.

Police in the commonwealth's largest city arrested two men in connection with the murder.

Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer called the murder a sad day for the commonwealth's LGBT community. "Dr. Lane shined much needed light on health issues that Kentucky's LGBT community faces. His dedication and compassion set an example for us all," stated Palmer.

Police have charged Gene Raymond Miller, 39, who they said knew Lane, and Bennett Shaw Bilbrey, 42, with murder, burglary, robbery and theft of Lane’s car, a Jaguar, according to Louisville Metro Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell.

Mitchell, reading from the arrest report, said the two men “unlawfully entered” Lane’s home on University Avenue, assaulted Lane, who lived alone, with a blunt object and left with an undetermined amount of cash.

Dr. Emery Lane knew his accused killer well — he wrote to Gene Miller in prison and provided money to care for Miller’s children. “Emery had definitely provided for (Miller’s) family. They considered him like family,” said Ken Plotnik, Lane’s attorney and friend.

In 1996, before leaving Community Health Lane presided at the unveiling of an AIDS memorial. In an interview at the time with the Louisville Courier-Journal he said that "Gays and lesbians have been invisible."

"More times than not, they have been driven to live in the dark. Some did live in the open, but they were received in contempt. Some have tried to mask who they really are by getting married … This memorial honors those people," he told the paper.