Teen Sentenced In Gay Pride Attack

GaySAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – A 15-year-old El Cajon boy was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in a state detention center for youths for his role in hate-crime attacks against several men after a gay-pride festival in Balboa Park.
Juvenile Court Judge Theodore Weathers called the teen’s crimes “heinous” and “beyond comprehension.”
When it was his turn to speak, the boy quietly told the judge he was sorry for what he had done.
Six men were assaulted with a knife and a baseball bat the night of the annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Festival in Balboa Park on July 29. One victim was stabbed in the back, and another victim was beaten so severely that nearly all of the bones in his face were broken, according to testimony.
Prosecutors said the boy, along with two men, kicked, beat and stomped on the victims. One assailant used a baseball bat and another used a knife.
The teen pleaded guilty Sept. 18 in Juvenile Court to three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and hate-crime allegations. He also admitted causing great bodily injury to one of the victims.
The guilty pleas allowed the boy to avoid prosecution in adult court, where he could have faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Defense attorney Robert Bourne argued yesterday that the teen needed counseling, substance-abuse treatment, education and vocational training, all of which could be provided at a local youth camp, rather than the state facility.
Citing a psychological report, Bourne noted that the boy “tended to be a follower” and was swayed by the older men who were with him in the park. He said also that the boy, who had no criminal record, was under the influence of drugs at the time.
“He’s not trying to hide behind the methamphetamine, but it just changed his personality,” Bourne said.
Prosecutor Oscar Garcia said the victims, two of whom attended the hearing, wanted the judge to consider the “viciousness” of the attack when deciding the boy’s sentence.
Paul Mullins, 34, one of the victims, told the judge that the teen and the men who participated in the crimes should spend time in state custody because “at no point did they show humanity or a sense of morals.”
The prosecutor said outside the courtroom that the boy could spend as little as two years at the detention facility if his counselors feel he is fit for release.
Two men involved in the case were sentenced to prison last week in San Diego Superior Court after pleading guilty to felony charges.
Under the terms of a plea agreement, James Carroll, 24, and Lyonn Tatum, 18, received 11 years and eight years, respectively.
Kenneth Lincoln, 24, got 32 months for helping to cover up the attack. Prosecutors said Lincoln was not present during the beatings, but that he tattooed Tatum and shaved his head to prevent him from being recognized and arrested.
from The San Diego Union-Tribune

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