A 19-year-old Washington D.C. man is sentenced to 180 days behind bars after the brutal September 2008 beating death of Tony Randolph Hunter, a black gay Maryland man, reports the Washington Post. Last month Robert Hannah plead guilty to one charge of simple assault as part of a plea bargain offered by prosecutors and will get credit for two months served.
Before issuing his sentence, Judge Rafael Diaz acknowledged many of the letters written to the court from gay rights groups and Hunter's family asking Diaz to sentence Hannah to the maximum 180 days. During the hearing, Hannah told Hunter's mother, sister and stepfather—who sat in the front row wiping away tears—that he was sorry, although he never looked at the family and kept his eyes on Diaz.
"We drove 300 miles to see him get six months in jail for killing my son," said Hunter's stepfather, John Yarborough of Franklinton, N.C., Hunter's home town. Hunter's family said they believe more people were involved. "My son was six-foot-three and about 200 pounds and a former army sergeant," Yarborough said. "One punch from that little guy wouldn't have done that. The [prosecutor] didn't press the witnesses. They didn't work hard enough."
Hannah claims he punched Hunter after the gay man grabbed his crotch and butt when the two men crossed paths on a Washington D.C. street. Hunter fell to the ground, hit his head on the pavement and lingered for ten days in a coma. Hannah was arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter. One of Hunter's friends denies the sexual advance. The witness says Hannah and three or four other men attacked them and were unprovoked.
Hunter's family members, D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson and gay activists have been outraged the United States' Attorney Office for the District declined to pursue the original manslaughter charges or murder. The U.S. Attorney's office says the it could not because witness statements were "contradictory".
Four months behind bars for killing a gay man. Why not just a give him a gold star and plaque?
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