In March Alejandro Sam Gray, now 19, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to twenty years in prison for two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, after he and two friends last year threw concrete blocks at patrons inside Robert’s Lafitte Bar, in Galveston, Texas, because they were believed to be gay. Gray was 17 at the time. Those charges were dropped — because Gray is dyslexic. He just plead guilty again and scored a 75 percent reduction on his sentence..
After reaching a deal with prosecutors to serve five years in prison, Gray was handed a 20-year sentence by District Judge Susan Criss, who refused to go along with the plea agreement. No wonder: Marc Bosaw, 57, “needed 12 staples to close a laceration to the back of his head, while James Troy Nickelson, 39, was struck in the jaw.” One suspect held open the bar door while the other two hurled in pieces of rock and concrete.
So Gray’s attorney appealed to Criss to nix the entire proceedings because Gray suffers from dyslexia and didn’t fully understand the court documents or what he was signing (which is, frankly, an attorney’s job — although Gray had a different attorney the first time around). Criss agreed, and allowed Gray to enter a new plea. This one carries the hate crime enhancement, which means Gray faced anywhere from five to 99 years in prison. He received a five-year sentence; after two-and-a-half years he’ll be eligible for parole.
(Gray’s co-conspirator Lawrence Henry Lewis plead guilty and received a five-year sentence. Lawrence testified against his brother Lawrneil Henry Lewis, who got off.)
It’s a case of stupid kids doing a stupid thing that had real consequences. Prison will force Gray to grow up, but not necessarily mature.