A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced two men each to 15 years in prison after their convictions of hate crime offenses for their roles in a March 8, 2012 assault of a gay Black man in Corpus Christi, Tex. The conviction was announced by Vanita Gupta, head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas, according to a news release.
Ramiro Serrata Jr., 23, and Jimmy Garza, 33, “pleaded guilty in September 2015, to one count of conspiracy to commit hate crimes and one count of a hate crime violation of the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crime Act for causing bodily injury because of the victim’s sexual orientation,” the release states.
In handing down the sentence, Senior U.S. District Judge Hayden Head of the Southern District of Texas condemned the men for the brutal attack, saying they “abandoned their humanity to the viciousness of animals.”
Per the DOJ:
During their respective plea hearings, both men admitted they conspired to assault a gay African-American man because of his race and sexual orientation. During the assault, the defendants punched and kicked the man and assaulted him with various weapons, including a frying pan, a mug, a sock filled with batteries, a broom and a belt. The defendants also poured bleach onto the victim’s face and into his eyes, and Garza struck the victim in the head with a handgun.
Serrata and Garza further admitted that when the victim began to bleed during the assault, they forced him to remove all of his clothing and clean up the blood throughout the apartment. After the victim was naked, Garza pointed a gun at him while Serrata sodomized the victim with a broom handle. Serrata and Garza admitted that, throughout the assault, they called the victim “gay” and other racial and homophobic slurs. The defendants also admitted that they repeatedly whipped the victim with a belt while calling him a “slave” and making other references to slavery.
Both men acknowledged that throughout the assault, they also prevented the man from leaving the apartment by physical force and threats of force. The victim eventually escaped the apartment by jumping out of a window and running away until he was discovered by the police.
Carlos Garcia Jr., a third defendant, pleaded guilty on Jan. 5, 2016, to one count of making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer.
SOURCE: Department of Justice | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty