The name Talana Kreeger, whose life was cut short over 30 years ago because of anti-LGBTQ violence, isn’t known by most outside of Wilmington, or by many individuals from the area younger than 50.
“I moved to Wilmington in 1990,” recalls Tab Ballis, the producer of the documentary “Park View.”
“That was the same year that Talana Kreeger was murdered. I learned of her death from media coverage that was sensational in its description of the horrific details of her murder, yet somehow it left her identity as a human being unreported.”
“I sensed that the life of Talana Kreeger was at risk of being obscured by the horror of her death,” says Ballis. “It struck me at the time there was very little information about [her] and who she was. I felt compelled to make sure that she was not forgotten.”
Kreege was murdered February 22, 1990 after spending an evening with friends at The Park View Grill, a now defunct but previously popular lesbian bar located in a high profile area of Wilmington.
She met Ronald Thomas, who asked to tag along with Kreeger and other women from the bar who were headed out for late night eats after the nightclub had closed.
Following an argument with Thomas concerning her sexuality, he physically and sexually assaulted Kreeger and left her to die in a wooded area. In 1992 he was convicted of her murder and remained in prison serving two life sentences until his death on July 18, 2022.
Ballis believes the story of the decades old murder is still very relevant today.
“Much has been accomplished by the LGBTQ community, especially with the overturning of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and Marriage Equality,” he offers. “But the danger and violence are still there. LGBTQ people have been targeted by violence at a rate that can only be called epidemic.”
“Park View” will screen at UNC-Charlotte April 11 as part of the Hate in Our State tour. For more information, visit the film’s website.