Steven Rouse

Photo of a thin young man with very short, light hair, wearing a red shirt and tie. He is smiling broadly. To the right is another person, but their face is has been blurred out.Name: Steven Joseph Rouse
Died: October 19, 2015
Age at death: 22
Cause of death: Stabbed
Location: Greeneville, North Carolina

Steven had recently moved into his own apartment for the first time. He was a gifted young man who wanted to become an orthopedic doctor.

“He was sweet and kind and quiet and they picked on someone too kind to hurt anyone or anything,” his mother remembers. “Steven was a beautiful soul. He was filled with peace and love. His most frequent request was, ‘Can I have a hug?’… He would give to anyone. If it was the last thing he had, he would give.”

Steven mentioned to his mother that two men he had met on public transportation had been bullying him. Police say it was those men who fatally attacked him. Steven tried to run away, but they chased him down and stabbed him repeatedly.

A witness saw the attack and tried to administer first aid to Steven, but his injuries were too severe. She says his last words were, “Just let my mom know I love her.”

Steven’s alleged killers showed up with minor injuries at the same hospital his body was taken to and were arrested. One of them was convicted of murder and sentenced to 31 years. The other’s trial is still underway as of 2021.

“This was a targeted attack,” his mother says. “Steven was sought because he was defenseless… Being different for Steven meant he had the ability to love in a way that was so true and so very pure. His ‘difference’ was loving the world no matter how much the world hated his ‘difference’.”

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