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Difficult Prosecution Yields A "Hollow Victory"

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Nineteen year old Robert Hannah admits to punching Tony Hunter just over a year ago outside a gay bar on Northwest DC's 14th street. Hunter fell back, hit his head and fell into a coma. He died ten days later. Hannah plead guilty to simple assault and was sentenced to six months in jail. Chris Farris, co-chair of Gays and Lesbians against Violence, sees the attack as a hate crime and the calls the sentence inadequate.

"Some semblance of justice was done, but it's a hollow victory. For a man to receive six months in jail with two months credit for time served for the murder of another human being is unacceptable, under any measure," said Farris.

But Hannah, the attacker, argued that he was provoked, that Hunter groped him. Prosecutors say they couldn't find a reliable witness to dispute that claim.

Complicating matters further, Hunter had been drinking, making it easier for him to lose his balance. As a result, Prosecutors say, they were only able to press charges of simple assault.

Sabri Ben-Achour reports...


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