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Gay Advocacy Group Seeks Maximum Sentence for Attacker

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A Gay Rights Group says it will ask a judge for the maximum sentence in a case that has sparked outrage in the gay community. Tony Hunter was attacked on his way to a NW DC gay bar a year ago. He later died from his injuries. Nineteen-year old Robert Hannah has pled guilty to misdemeanor assault in the case, and faces a maximum sentence of six months in prison.

"Even if we get the maximum in this case, it would be a very, very hollow victory. Six months for an innocent man's life is not acceptable." Chris Farris is with a group called Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence. He says the misdemeanor charge is inadequate.

Prosecutors initially filed manslaughter charges, but a grand jury handed back a simple assault indictment. Hannah said he was provoked because the victim groped him. Farris says police ignored several witnesses who dispute that claim. He says Hunter's death affects all of D-C's gay community. "If Tony Hunter was beaten and subsequently died from that beating just because he was gay, or because he was walking into a gay bar, or because someone thought he was walking to a gay bar, then every single one of us is at risk."

Sentencing is set for October 14th.

Sabri Ben-Achour reports...


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