Nearly four years ago in Brooklyn’s Brownsville area, Steven Pomie nearly beat Dwan Prince (pictured) to death for coming on to him. Pomie attacked Prince once, then came back for a second round with a cohort, and returned for a third assault only to be stopped by witnesses. By that point, Prince was unconscious. So how come Prince is now lobbying for a light sentence of his attacker? It might have something to do with Prince blaming himself for the anti-gay attack.
We can’t imagine the terror Prince felt that night, when Pomie felt so threatened by another man’s flirting he felt the need to physically beat the gay out of him. But we cannot fathom thanking our attacker for nearly ending our life.
But that’s what Prince, 31, who has no memory of the attack, did in a letter to Pomie. And even though Prince has been left partially paralyzed from the assault, he says he worked with the prosecutors office on a more lenient sentence.
And if that weren’t bizarre enough, he suggests when Pomie, 26, gets out of prison, the two can be friends.
It took a jury less than a day of deliberating to convict Pomie on charges of first-degree assault and first-degree assault as a hate crime; he was sentenced to 25 years. An appeals court reversed the conviction in 2008, threw out the first-degree assault charge, and ordered Pomie retried on second-degree charges; Pomie is in prison awaiting retrial. Reports Gay City News‘ Duncan Osborne:
Prince was a witness at the first trial, though he has no memory of the assault. His testimony illustrated the devastating results of the attack. His more sympathetic posture toward Pomie could sway a jury. While the assault left Prince partially paralyzed, he blamed himself.
“I was at blame so it is my to my strongest degree that you get out as soon as possible,” Prince wrote.
“Steve you changed me!” Prince wrote. “So hopefully when you get out we can hang out. You know me. I know you. I help you calm that angry machine down. And allow you to know I am not gay but a lover, and you can find me a female I can love and can love me.”
Prince has been attending a Bible study class at the Riverside Church, a liberal congregation, but he said he has not discussed his changed sexual orientation there.
“I am looking to change my life these days,” Prince, who is HIV-positive, told Gay City News. “I am looking for a female who I can marry and have my sperm washed and have children… With me going to church, I feel myself that I must try to live by the Bible, I must try to live by God’s law.”
It appeared at a July 13 hearing that Pomie and the Brooklyn district attorney were negotiating a plea deal, but that seems to have collapsed. The two sides, at an August 4 hearing, set a trial date for September 1.
When his conviction was reversed, Pomie was transferred from the state prison system to Rikers Island where he remains, unable to make bail. Prince did not know if Pomie had received his letter and he is considering sending him a second.
“I want him to know that, if he read or if he didn’t read it, I want him to know my emotion and feeling behind what happened,” Prince said. “I want him to know my true emotion and love for him. There is a God that looks over everybody and he raised me from death and Steven was not able to kill me… I don’t hate him for trying to kill me.”