Rashawn & Beyond: Anti-Violence News for Queer People of Color

The Rashawn Brazell Memorial Fund aims to establish a sustainable tribute to Rashawn that promotes critical thought about the impact of violence and intolerance, particularly upon queer communities of African descent.

Through this blog, we provide action alerts, event postings and breaking news as a means of informing these communities in ways that enable them to combat racism and homophobia.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Two sentenced in N.M. attack on gay teen

originally posted at: gay.com

Two young people have been sentenced in the brutal kidnapping and beating of a gay teenage boy after a July 2006 house party in Edgewood, N.M., the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

Cecily Gonzalez, 17, pleaded guilty Thursday to aggravated battery and false imprisonment and will spend one year in the custody of the Children, Youth, and Families Department. Gonzalez wasn't eligible for a hate-crime enhancement of an extra year because she was sentenced as a juvenile.

Uriah Smith, now 18, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping and was sentenced to four years in prison.

State district Judge Michael Vigil initially sentenced Smith to three years in prison plus an extra year for the hate-crime enhancement. But Smith's attorney, Steve Aarons, vowed to appeal because minors, even if they are sentenced as adults, are not covered under the hate-crime statute. So Vigil changed the sentence and gave Smith four years outright.

Prosecutor Donna Dagnall said that everyone involved identified Smith as the leader of the attack.

Charges are pending against two other men charged in the beating, William York, 21, and Leroy Segura, 21.

The four assailants are alleged to have kidnapped a woman from the same party, holding her in a camper and beating while the gay man was tied up and brutalized for hours, allegedly to turn him straight.

Dagnall said the male victim suffered bleeding on the brain and a concussion as well as facial lacerations and bruising.

While his physical injuries have healed, the victim's mother told the New Mexican, the emotional scars have not.

Harassment that had already begun in high school for the teen became even worse after his beating. "People were coming up to him and saying 'gay' and 'queer,'" his sister added. "No one should be punished for the way they are."

The teen stopped attending his school and in an unfortunate turn of events was later diagnosed with Huntington's disease, a syndrome that causes degeneration of brain cells.

"I still feel all this pain," his mother told reporters. "It's been a living nightmare."

The victim did not attend Thursday's hearing. (The Advocate)


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