Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for November, 2007

Three Sentenced in Michael Sandy’s Death

Jim Burroway

November 21st, 2007

Michael SandyLast October, Michael Sandy, 29, was lured to a secluded beach in the New York area by three others who he met in an online chat room. At the beach, he was then assaulted and chased onto a busy freeway, where he was struck by a sport utility vehicle. He later died. The four men who were accused of planning the attack were arrested on hate crime charges. The police investigation showed that Sandy had been selected to be robbed because he was gay, believing a gay man would hesitate to resist or report the attack.

Gary Timmins, 17, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery with a hate crime enhancement. As part of his plea agreement, he testified against his friends in exchange for a four-year prison sentence. John Fox, 20, who posed as a gay man in the internet chat room was manslaughter and attempted robbery as hate crime and was sentenced to between 13 and 21 years in prison. Anthony Fortunato, 21, tried to avoid the hate crime enhancement by claiming he was gay himself. He was convicted of manslaughter as a hate crime and was sentenced to 7 to 21 years. Ilya Shurov, 21, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and attempted robbery as hate crimes.

Despite the police and prosecutor’s determination that this was a hate crime, Michael Sandy’s high-profile death was not included in the FBI’s 2006 hate crimes statistics.