The teenager implicated in the case of a black gay Maryland man killed in a brutal street attack in Washington, D.C. pleads guilty to a misdemeanor charge and avoids substantial jail time.
Robert Hanna plead guilty to misdemeanor assault on Thursday in the September 2008 death of Tony Randolph Hunter, who was 37. Hunter and a friend were severely beaten as they were headed to the BeBar, the popular gay club. A severe blow to the head left Hunter in a coma and lingering ten days in a vegetative state.
Police arrested Hanna on October 15 for voluntary manslaughter in connection with the attack. Police initially claimed the attack was motivated by anti-gay bias but later said they had "insufficient evidence" to support that motive. Hanna used a "gay panic" defense and his lawyer argued that Hunter touched grabbed his client's crotch and buttocks. Gay activists in the nation's capitol previously complained the United States Attorney’s office did not aggressively prosecute the suspect.
Under the plea arrangement, the maximum possible sentence the 18-year-old Hannah can receive is 180 days in jail. Community activist Keith Jarrell tells WJLA-TV the indictment sends "an alarming message" that violence against the gay and lesbian community is accepted: "The city has turned [its] back on the gay community in many aspects."
Six months in jail for killing a gay man in an unprovoked attack? Why not just give this teenaged killer probation and a cookie if he swears to be a good little boy and not kill any more homos?
UPDATE: Washington D.C. is home to one of the largest black gay communities in the nation. Yet they've been curiously silent on Tony Randolph Hunter case and the plea arrangement. Interesting.
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