The first conviction in the Michael Sandy robbery and murder trial has arrived. A Brooklyn jury convicts 20-year-old John Fox of manslaughter as a hate crime and lesser charges for his role in the deadly robbery of the black gay interior designer lured via an Internet chat room. Fox was acquitted of the "most serious charge, murder as a hate crime, which could have kept him behind bars for the rest of his life."
"I wouldn't say I'm unhappy with the verdict," says Zeke Sandy, the father of the slain Brooklyn man, Michael Sandy. "They had the case and they did their best. We have to accept it."
Prosecutors described Fox as "the ringleader" for his role in trolling the Adam4Adam message board for potential victims, selecting a gay man as a robbery target, recruiting his friends to participate, and, ultimately, chasing the 29-year-old Sandy into his death in traffic.
Fox faces prison time that ranges from as little as 5 years to as many as 50. Another suspect tried in the same case, Anthony Fortunato, is awaiting his verdict. (Fortunato's defense advanced the ridiculous claim that the suspect himself was gay and lured Michael Sandy in hopes of a coming out party.) A third man, Ilya Shurov, will be tried separately.
Twenty-nine-year-old Michael J. Sandy Williamsburg was lured to a secluded lot in Sheepshead Bay on Oct. 8, 2006, after exchanging online messages with his would-be-killers on Adam4Adam. He was led to a narrow beach, then attacked and chased into traffic on the Belt Parkway. He was struck by an SUV and later died of his injuries. The driver has never been identified.
Complete Michael Sandy coverage here.
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Gay Man Beaten in Vicious Attack? [R20]