Allen Schindler Jr. Murder: Where are Terry Helvey and Charles Vins Now? – An American radioman, Petty Officer Third Class in the US Navy, named Allen R. Schindler Jr., was killed because he was gay. Terry M. Helvey, working with Charles Vins as an accomplice, killed him in a public restroom in Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan. Esquire described it as a “brutal murder.” The case came to be associated with the ongoing discussion in the US around LGBT military personnel, which resulted in the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” bill.
A 20/20 segment on ABC focused on the circumstances surrounding Schindler’s murder, which were also the subject of the 1997 television movie Any Mother’s Son. Any Mother’s Son received the Outstanding Made for TV Movie GLAAD Media Award in 1998.
“The 1990s: The Deadliest Decade: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” an episode on Investigation Discovery, meticulously examines this complicated and historic case, presenting the information to viewers in chronological order. We have the information you need, whether you’re curious to learn more about the murder case, the identities of the culprits, or their current whereabouts. Keep reading below to get all the information you need.
Who Was Allen Schindler Jr. and How Did He Die?
Allen R. Schindler Jr. was born to Dorothy Hajdys-Clausen and Allen Schindler Sr. on December 13, 1969, in Chicago Heights, Cook County, Illinois. After his parents’ divorce, Dorothy was forced to work nonstop to support her and Allen, which reportedly left her with little free time to spend with her son. Allen was thus primarily brought up by his mother’s aunt, Marie. Dorothy later married Frank Hajdys, the owner of the restaurant where Dorothy had worked and who had also served in the Navy for a while. Allen apparently didn’t get along well with his stepfamily when he was a child.
But until her tragic death when he was 12 years old, he always had his aunt by his side. After turning 18, Allen enlisted in the Navy and was later assigned to the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier, where he served as a radioman until January 1991. When the aircraft carrier was decommissioned in December 1991, Allen was transferred to the USS Belleau Wood, an amphibious assault ship.
According to sources, Allen identified as gay. He found that his new ship was far more hostile and intolerable than his previous one, which allowed him to be open but discreet about his sexuality.
According to reports, Allen’s crewmates regularly harassed him and made homophobic remarks, and he was even worried that they were spying on his mail. Even his protests about these instances to his chain of command in March and April of 1992 went unanswered. Rich Eastman, a former crewmate of Allen’s, recalled that “people bumped into him (Allen) and shoved him out of the way. “Queers coming down the passageway,” they said. Allen claims that the Navy ignored her complaints, which led to the tragic incident in the end.
Allen was found on the restroom floor on October 27, 1992, in a park in Sasebo, Japan. He was on shore leave, and his ship was docked at the Sasebo Naval Base. The patrolmen found a badly hurt Allen on the restroom floor after receiving information from a petty officer and a seaman who had witnessed part of the assault. His tattoos could only recognise Allen because he had been beaten up so horribly that his face could not.
Commander Edward Kilbane, the forensic pathologist at Okinawa, would later testify that Allen’s injuries were among the worst he had ever seen in his career. Allen was taken by ambulance to the US Naval Hospital in Okinawa, where the medical staff was horrified to discover the extent of his wounds—at least four fatal ones to the head, chest, and abdomen. Allen sustained many fractures in the bones surrounding his eyes and the back of his skull, as well as shattered bones in his upper jaw, nose, and eight ribs.
According to the study, the middle region of Allen’s face became loosely floating and disconnected. All over his body, including his head, chest, neck, lungs, brain, and heart, there were bruises. His bladder had been pulled open, his aorta had been shredded, and his liver had been crushed to mush. Edward claimed that Allen’s injuries were “worse than the damage to a person who’d been stomped by a horse; they were similar to what might be sustained in a high-speed car crash or a low-speed aircraft accident.” Allen passed away from his wounds within a few minutes of his entrance.
Who Killed Allen Schindler Jr and Why?
Within hours of the murder, Airman Apprentice Terry M. Helvey and Airman Charles Vins were detained after being allegedly seen fleeing a public restroom at Sasebo Park while covered in blood by Allen’s shipmate Keith Sims. After being halted by shore patrol, Terry and Vins fled the area and returned to the base through a back gate at around 3:30 in the morning. An officer of the military police who was searching for the murder suspects stopped them but released them since they did not appear to fit the descriptions.
However, Terry was taken from his berth to the master-at-arms’ office at around six in the morning on suspicion of killing Allen. Gerald D. Maxwell, who Terry ran into on the way, would later testify that Terry informed him, “I didn’t plan to do it… but the b-tard deserved it.” Vins was also detained for his involvement in the murder, and he later agreed to a plea bargain in exchange for Terry’s testimony.
Allen apparently kept a notebook on the USS Belleau Wood, where he supposedly recorded every incidence of mistreatment he experienced. Allen called it “Helleau Wood” and described how, despite requesting a discharge, Captain Douglas J. Bradt of the ship would later come out in public in front of Allen’s peers during an administrative hearing. The Navy made a concerted effort to conceal Allen’s sexuality as the true cause of the hate crime, refusing to admit it to the media or even to the victim’s mother.
What Happened to Charles Vins and Terry Helvey and Where Are They Now?
Terry Helvey struck a plea agreement on May 24, 1993, and agreed to plead guilty to the lower charge of murder with the intent to cause serious bodily damage rather than capital murder. He was given a life sentence instead of the death penalty since it allowed him to avoid it. At the Federal Correctional Institution in Greenville, Illinois, he is presently detained in a cell. On March 7, 2022, the Parole Commission rejected his request for parole.
On April 16, 1993, Charles Vin accepted a plea agreement and signed a 13-page confession that enabled the prosecution to convict Terry. In return, Vin received a plea agreement from the naval investigators, serving only a 78-day minimum term. In June 1993, he was given a general discharge. Captain Bradt was never charged despite reportedly ignoring Allen’s complaints. Instead, he was sent to Florida for shore leave.