A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced two men each to 15 years in prison after their convictions of hate crime offenses for their roles in a March 8, 2012 assault of a gay Black man in Corpus Christi, Tex. The conviction was announced by Vanita Gupta, head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas, according to a news release.
Ramiro Serrata Jr., 23, and Jimmy Garza, 33, “pleaded guilty in September 2015, to one count of conspiracy to commit hate crimes and one count of a hate crime violation of the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crime Act for causing bodily injury because of the victim’s sexual orientation,” the release states.
In handing down the sentence, Senior U.S. District Judge Hayden Head of the Southern District of Texas condemned the men for the brutal attack, saying they “abandoned their humanity to the viciousness of animals.”
Per the DOJ:
During their respective plea hearings, both men admitted they conspired to assault a gay African-American man because of his race and sexual orientation. During the assault, the defendants punched and kicked the man and assaulted him with various weapons, including a frying pan, a mug, a sock filled with batteries, a broom and a belt. The defendants also poured bleach onto the victim’s face and into his eyes, and Garza struck the victim in the head with a handgun.
Serrata and Garza further admitted that when the victim began to bleed during the assault, they forced him to remove all of his clothing and clean up the blood throughout the apartment. After the victim was naked, Garza pointed a gun at him while Serrata sodomized the victim with a broom handle. Serrata and Garza admitted that, throughout the assault, they called the victim “gay” and other racial and homophobic slurs. The defendants also admitted that they repeatedly whipped the victim with a belt while calling him a “slave” and making other references to slavery.
Both men acknowledged that throughout the assault, they also prevented the man from leaving the apartment by physical force and threats of force. The victim eventually escaped the apartment by jumping out of a window and running away until he was discovered by the police.
Carlos Garcia Jr., a third defendant, pleaded guilty on Jan. 5, 2016, to one count of making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer.
SOURCE: Department of Justice | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty
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21 Of President Barack Obama's Best Photos Of 2015
21 photos Launch gallery
1. JANUARY: President Obama delivers the State of the Union address with the support of vice president Joe Biden. Obama gained mass support after his joke about winning both terms.
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2. JANUARY: President Barack Obama has an adorable moment with Akira Cooper at the Community Children's Center, one of the nation's oldest Head Start providers, in Lawrence, Kan.
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3. JANUARY: President Obama greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi upon arrival at Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi, India.
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4. JANUARY: President Barack Obama greets neighbors after visiting a model home at the Nueva Villas at Beverly, a single-family housing development owned by local nonprofit organization Chicanos Por La Causa Inc. in Phoenix, Ariz.
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5. FEBRUARY: President Barack Obama fakes a jump shot during an Affordable Care Act video taping for BuzzFeed in the White House Library. The video went viral thanks to jokes about his presidency and ultra-cool swag.
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6. FEBRUARY: Obama pals around with one of his biggest supporters, vice president Joe Biden. While he chose not to run in the 2016 presidential election, Obama said he would be in his corner.
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7. FEBRUARY: President Barack Obama talks with 13-year-old student Vidal Chastanet as "Humans of New York" founder Brandon Stanton photographs during a blog interview in the Oval Office. Obama was greatly inspired by Chastanet's comments on the popular "Humans of New York" Instagram page, where he shared his troubles finding courage in school and and life despite living in a dangerous area of Brooklyn, NY.
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8. MARCH: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama join hands with Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. as they lead the walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches, in Selma, Ala., March 7, 2015. Malia and Sasha Obama join hands with their grandmother, Marian Robinson.
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9. MARCH: Obama is a classic man as he puts on a green tie in observance of St. Patrick's Day.
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10. MARCH: President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the event to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.
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11. APRIL: During the Correspondents' Dinner, his anger translator - played by Key & Peele comedian Keegan-Michael Key - helped Obama get out his biggest frustrations.
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12. APRIL: President Obama arrives in Jamaica to meet with the 15-member Caribbean Community. His trip marked a first for the sitting president and second since the country's independence.
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13. APRIL: Obama speaks with newly appointed Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Oval Office.
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14. JUNE: President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are seen talking during the president's trip to the G7Summit in Bavaria, Germany.
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15. JUNE: President Obama sings "Amazing Grace" during the eulogy for South Carolina state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney during Pinckney's funeral service. Clementa was one of the nine victims who died after suspected shooter Dylann Roof entered the AME church and opened fire.
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16. SEPTEMBER: President Obama is featured on the popular show "Running Wild With Bear Grylls." Obama took the trip to highlight the importance of climate control.
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17. SEPTEMBER: The First Couple serve as "love goals" at the White House's state dinner for Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Madame Peng Liyuan. Obama and Xi announced an agreement on controlling climate change and a mutual outlook on cyber security.
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18. OCTOBER: President Obama meets with Ahmed Mohamed, the student who was detained by Texas police for his homemade clock. The president stood by the teen, who many believe was the victim of Islamophobia.
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19. NOVEMBER: President Obama issues a warning to his critics who "pop off" at his policies towards Syrian refugees. Speaking at the OP 21 United Nations conference on climate change, Obama welcomed his Republican critics to the White House to lay down their own policies. No one has responded.
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20. DECEMBER: President Obama addresses the public from the Oval Office regarding the San Bernardino shooting.
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21. DECEMBER: All grown up! The First Family, including Obama's mother-in-law Marian Robinson, is seen at the White House's national Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 2.
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