Nearly 500 Santa Barbara community members held a candlelight vigil Monday night for the victim of a murder last week.

Clinton Scott Risetter, 37, died on Feb. 23 when Martin Thomas Hartmann allegedly poured gasoline on him and lit him on fire because he was gay. Hartmann allegedly attacked Risetter in his home on Micheltorena Street downtown while he was sleeping. Risetter died on the scene.

The District Attorney’s office charged Hartmann with murder, arson and a hate crime, and he is being held in Santa Barbara County Jail. Santa Barbara Police said Hartmann turned himself in Thursday and confessed to the crime.

The vigil brought members from across the community together to the Trinity Episcopal Church on State Street on Monday night to commemorate the life of the victim. People at the vigil, which lasted about an hour, lit candles and filed past a shrine in Risetter’s honor, handing their candles over to be placed around the memorial.

It was the second vigil in memory of Risetter, whose case has drawn attention from across the state and nation and provoked the outrage of gay rights groups. A number of people spoke at the vigil about the heinous nature of the crime.

Last Thursday, Hartmann’s arraignment was pushed back a month. He is eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

-Nexus Staff Report