Guilty Plea in Detroit Gas Station Gay Bashing
A man from Detroit has pleaded guilty to attacking a customer at a gas station because he believed he was gay, the Detroit Free Press reported.
On March 7, 2011, Everett Dwayne Avery, 36, was at a BP gas station in the Motor City when he attacked the victim. He hit Justin Alesna in the face, which caused a fractured eye socket and other facial injuries, because he thought he was gay. Avery could get up to 10 years in prison.
Alesna was standing in line behind Avery at the gas station. As
Gay Star News reports, Avery thought he was standing a little too close and decided to take matters into his own hands. He first spewed homophobic epithets toward the victim and then beat him.
Avery will be sentenced on November 28. But under the terms of his plea deal, he will spend between 12 to 18 months and could get slammed with a $20,000 fine. He is also the second person to be prosecuted under Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009.
"A hate crime is different than a simple assault because it is an attack on not just one individual victim, but an attack on everyone who shares a particular characteristic," U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade told the Detroit Free Press. "By passing this statute, Congress made it clear that an attack based on a victim's sexual orientation will not be tolerated in America."
The first person do be prosecuted under the measure came earlier this year when David Jason Jenkins, 37, and Anthony Ray Jenkins were indicted by a federal grand jury in Kentucky for kidnapping and assaulting Kevin Penggington who is gay, the Huffington Post posted points out.
"Hate-fueled incidents have no place in a civilized society," Thomas E Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.