Excellent news. There is a guilty plea in the federal hate crimes case of the Detroit man targeted in a horrible anti-gay assault in March 2011. Twenty-three-year-old Justin Alesna suffered a shattered eye socket after he says witnesses "gawked and laughed" after he was brutally attacked at a gas station.
Avery faces up to 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced in November. ... Justin Alesna, who spoke to the Free Press after the assault, went to the BP to buy cigarettes and was standing in line behind Avery. Avery used an anti-gay slur and told him to move back because he believed Alesna was gay, the plea deal stated.
Avery hurled profanities and other homosexual slurs before punching Alesna in the face, the document stated. The two had never met before, and Avery knew nothing about the victim except that he assumed Alesna was gay, the document indicated.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Foley, whose Detroit office investigated Avery, said this case should send a message to the community. "The FBI is committed to protecting the community from those who are motivated by hate to victimize anyone as the result of their sexual orientation," Foley said.
To add insult to the already very serious injuries, the store owner reportedly told Alesna "to leave the store" when he asked for help.
Michigan is one of six states that does not have a hate crime statute, according to the Movement Advancement Project. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department indicated they would investigate the case last June.
Avery faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 28, 2012.