Anthony Fortunato, the 21-year old who orchestrated the attack, will serve 7 to 21 years. The man who led Sandy to the beach, 20-year old John Fox, faces 13 to 21 years in prison. Meanwhile, the youth who chased Sandy into traffic, Ilya Shurov, will serve 17 1/2 years.
The first two men addressed Sandy’s mourning parents to apologize for their gruesome actions, which involved posing as a sex-seeking man online, luring Sandy to a secluded area of Brooklyn and attacking him. Fearing for his life, Sandy ran into road, where a yet unidentified car slammed into the 29-year old.
He died a few days later.
The case became something of a sensation, particularly when Fortunato, who, again, organized the bloody affair, came out as gay. Regardless of his sexual proclivity, the jury felt his role persuasive enough to warrant a guilty verdict, but not of a hate crime. Fortunato acknowledged his weakness yesterday, telling the Sandy family, “I wish I had the resolve to stop what happened that night, but I acted like a coward and I turned and walked away”.
Perhaps Zeke Sandy, Michael’s father, had the strongest words yesterday, “These hate crimes become a cancer; it’s a disease. I don’t know why we have to go butcher one another because we don’t like what they are, who they are.”
It truly does boggle the mind.