Michael Sandy Clings to Life; Men Charged with Hate Crimes

John_foxMichael Sandy, the Brooklyn man who was attacked Sunday night by four men who found him on a gay internet site and lured him to a parking lot off the belt parkway known to be a cruising spot for gay men, continues to survive in a vegetative state at Brookdale hospital as relatives struggle with the question of whether or not to take him off life support.

Meanwhile, three Brooklyn men — John Fox, 19, Gary Timmins, 16, and Ilye Shurova, 20 — were charged with first-degree assault as a hate crime, and first- and second-degree robbery, also as hate crimes at the 61st Precenct Station House yesterday. When asked why the case was being treated as a hate crime, the police responded, “Because of the totality of the evolution of the crime.”

Fortunato, 20, was still being questioned.

As Fox (pictured above) was led from the station, his father yelled “I care about you” and later told reporters, “I can’t see him doing anything like this. He never did anything like that before, so why would he be rabidly anti-gay?”

Beltpkwy_2The driver of the car that hit Michael Sandy and fled the scene is still at large.

Meanwhile, across town, friends and family of Sandy grieved. Said his friend Nick Perdescu: “He’s one of the sweetest people in the world – he did not deserve this. He has brought immense joy, and for something like this to happen to him, it’s unbelievable in this day and age.”

The Times reports that the family wanted to wait “until at least today” to make the decision to pull the plug on Michael Sandy’s life support.

Today is Michael Sandy’s 29th birthday.

‘Gay Bash’ Hate Charges [ny post]
3 Charged in Hate Crimes; Brooklyn Victim Is in a Coma [nyt]

Four Arrested: Attack on Michael Sandy was Internet Set-up [tr]
Gay New York Man Critically Injured After Attack, Hit-and-Run [tr]


  1. Jonathon says

    My heart goes out to Sandy’s family. I cannot imagine their grief. This crime must not go unpunished and should Sandy die then all three of the attackers should be tried for murder.

  2. kuros says

    the one there being led off is wearing a t-shirt with what looks like some sort of american flag
    all american boy eh?

  3. Scott A says

    You can skip this one, it’s just like the ones before but I wanna put some feeling out there. Like the previous posts before and not to dismiss the severity of what’s happened, Mr. Sandy isn’t blameless for his situation. There are all types of risks in this world, and in his case he took a relatively unsafe one, getting in a car with a stranger. I don’t know how bad it is for random hookups to get this horrible but, if they are anything like plane crashes then they are few and far but, when they do happen, you’d better hope you aren’t on board. ;-( As for these kids and their parents; the parent’s aren’t innocent, assuming they’ve been raising these kids. You really don’t know your kid if you find out they were involved in something like this and it’s shameful to claim otherwise. You don’t suddenly become “anti-gay”, no one suddenly gains internalized views one way or another, they take time to form. I hope to god Sandy wakes up, and I hope they (the families) can all find redemption someday. This all around sucks.

  4. confused says

    This is terrible and tragically heart-wrenching.

    One question: as I am not American, can someone kindly explain to me the significance of treating this as a “hate crime”? Does it mean that the penalty/punishment will be more severe than, for lack of a better word, “regular” charging?

    Thanks in advance.

  5. FizziekruntNT says

    Dear Confused,

    If you have the time to read it all, I highly recommend the link below which is the Anti Defammation League’s writeup on State and Federal hate crime legislation and the decisions which have brought about the current U.S. laws regarding such. The link begins with section II in regard to your inquiry. I hope this helps.


  6. Anon says

    Hate crimes go to the motive behind the crime. The designations are highly political and gays do not automatically fall under their protection. Essentially, you get extra charges filed if your victim is within a specially protected class (racial or religious minority, etc. This is politically determined.) and there is some evidence the crime was committed to specifically target a member of this class. The theory of law is that they fall under aggravating circumstances, which are also applied to sentencing guidelines for things live potential death penalty cases. However, they have the Orwellian flavor of “thought crimes” so many liberals are opposed to them on first amendment grounds and conservatives oppose them on cultural grounds of having politically protected groups receiving special treatment. The US Supreme Court has already declared them Constitutional valid though. A recent court ruling, however, makes getting the charges to stick harder because prosecutors now have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt all aggravating circumstances to a jury, rather than simply having them be applied by a judge at sentencing.

  7. peterparker says

    Scott A., when you say “Mr. Sandy is not blameless in this situation, you imply that Michael Sandy is somehow ‘at fault’. While I would say that meeting someone who you first encountered online is not a situation that one can assume is risk-free, I would say that you shouldn’t expect to be shoved into moving traffic on a freeway. Yes, Scott, Mr. Sandy IS blameless. And you are, apparently, an ass.

  8. Zeke says


    To put this it into terms that are particularly relevant today, hate crimes are crimes that are deemed to be acts of terrorism to instill fear and shame into a whole group of people rather than simply an assault on an individual.

    When African Americans were lynched in the South in America’s history, the crimes were not simply an act of violence against an individual; they were acts of violence intended to shame and strike fear into ALL African Americans in order to “keep them in their place.” As such, these shameful acts against individuals were most definitely acts of terrorism against an entire race.

    The same can be said of certain crimes where homosexuals are targeted for violence simply because of their sexual orientation in such a way that it is intended to strike fear into the entire gay community. At that point an assault on an individual serves as an act of terrorism against an entire community.

    Contrary to popular misconception, simply being a gay or African American victim of an assault does not, in and of itself, qualify the crime as a hate crime. There are actually quite rigorous standards that must be met before any crime is so designated.

    One of the most heinous murderers and torturers of gay and racial minority men in American history, Jeffrey Dahmer’s, crimes of mass murder would not be considered a hate crime, because he was a sexually deviant socio/psychopath whose motivations were strictly for his sick personal sexual gratification and not to terrorize gays or members of racial minorities.

    As far as the freedom of speech argument; violence and assault are NEVER considered legal or reasonable expressions of free speech.

  9. Zeke says

    …although it’s amazing how many times members of the anti-gay religious Right will defend assaults on homosexuals or bullying of gay school kids as protected expressions of free speech.

    I’m still confused by how they reconcile this position with the teachings of Christ though.

  10. Brad says

    This is so sad and so unnecessary. It literally made me sick to my stomach. I just thought I was having a bad birthday, with the end of a relationship, and shit at work, but Mr. Sandy is having a much, much worse one. So it’s important ro remember that everything is relative. I will keep him in my thoughts and hope that he somehow miraculously regains conciousness, before his family reaches a point to mercifully remove him from the ventilator.

  11. Zeke says

    Michael Sandy passed away today.

    Rest in Peace my beautiful brother.

    You will not be forgotten.

    I will do everything in my power to stop the senseless slaughter of my gay brothers and sisters at the hands of hateful and ignorant predators.

    I will stand, I will scream and I will fight til my dying breath with your spirit at my side.

    NO MORE!!!

  12. Kai says

    I just wish they all get sentenced at the very least 29 years in prison without parole. That is how old Michael was when he died. These murderers are nothing but cowards. And for the person who said that Michael was not faultless, I really feel sorry for you. Just because you a person may not have taken all precautions, or used better judgement does not make him at fault for someone acting out a crime on him. Mind you this bastard went on a gay site to trap Michael. It’s not like Michael was on some straight site trying to pick up straight men. They crossed the line by going on a gay site pretending to be gay, in order to bring harm to a gay person. He is faultless, and God help you for thinking otherwise.