Michael Sandy Killers Will Be Tried For Anti-Gay Hate Crime

Three accused killers got a little lesson in hate crimes yesterday. Brooklyn supreme court judge Jill Konviser ruled that the three men on trial for Michael Sandy’s murder can be tried under hate crime law.

The men John Fox, Anthony Fortunato and Ilya Shurov found 29-year old Sandy on a gay chat line last October, lured him to Brooklyn’s Beltway Park and then attacked him. After being hit by the men – and a few cars – Sandy remained in critical condition until being removed from the respirator later that week.

In their deposition, the men claim they didn’t beat Sandy because he’s gay. They did, however, target him because he’s gay – that is, they thought he’d be an easy victim.

Judge Konviser says the men’s misconception counts as a hate crime:

The grand jury evidence shows that this is not a case where hate crimes are charged simply because the victim just happened to be of a particular sexual orientation.

Rather, this is a case where the defendants deliberately set out to commit a violent crime against a man whom they intentionally selected because of his sexual orientation. Thus, the hate crimes charges in this case are consistent with the intent of the Legislature.

If convicted, the men face a minimum of 20 years in prison.