Jury Still Out On Fortunato

John Fox Guilty Of Gay Manslaughter

Justice! 21-year old John Fox will serve an undetermined sentence for his role in Michael Sandy’s 2006 death. Fox and three friends were accused of luring the gay man to a Brooklyn park, where they attacked him. Fearing for his life, young Sandy ran into traffic, where a car struck him, leading to his ultimate death.

Though prosecutors sought a hate crime murder, the jury convicted Fox of manslaughter and robbery as a hate crime. He’s yet to be sentenced, but the prescribed time falls between 5 and 15 years.

Speaking to the press after the verdict, Sandy’s father, Ezekial told the press, “Things like this shouldn’t happen. Hopefully something greater will come out of it.” Openly gay New York City Speaker Christine Quinn says the verdict “sent a powerful message that hate crimes of any stripe have no place here in New York City.”

The hate crime aspect, however, proved to be the most difficult for the jury:

Outside the courthouse yesterday, the jury foreman, Jason Linetsky, 29, said the hate crime charges were the source of some debate.

“We needed clarification of: how much do we bring of our own personal feelings?” Mr. Linetsky said.

On a more basic level, the jury’s verdict included apparent contradictions, endorsing the elements of causing a death in the course of a robbery but rejecting the felony murder charges. Asked about that, Mr. Linetsky posed his own question: “Were we about to send somebody to life when he wasn’t the direct cause of it?”

The jury heard, however, that Fox instigated the misadventure. If the ringleader got only manslaughter, we wonder what will become of another alleged attacker, Anthony Fortunato, the “gay man” who hoped to lay Sandy.

A third suspect, Ilya Shurov, has yet to stand trial.