There is a very disturbing update to Saturday's story of a young man in suburban Buffalo who was pepper-sprayed, kicked, punched and robbed by two young women. The young man was attacked because he is perceived to be gay, although he says he is straight. The latest: The victim of the alleged hate crime was threatened while in court.
Joy Darden, 18, and Deonna Burnett, 19 [were] in Cheektowaga Town Court Thursday for a preliminary hearing on charges of robbery, grand larceny, aggravated harassment and criminal mischief. Police said in the days leading up to the court appearance, a friend of the victim had received text messages stating the victim should not show up for court. The victim was threatened Thursday during [the] court appearance for the suspects, Cheektowaga Police said. Shariff Jackson, 18, was charged with tampering with a witness after police said he approached the victim in the hallway of the Cheektowaga Town Court building. Jackson told the victim that he was going to "whoop him," Capt. James Speyer said.
Jackson is believed to be the boyfriend of one of the suspects, reports WKBW. He was immediately arrested and charged with tampering with a witness.
Darden and Burnett's case was sent to a grand jury for the enhanced hate crime penalties. The charges will undoubtedly become more severe with these new allegations of witness tampering. Watch WIVB's report AFTER THE JUMP ...