Anthony Fortunato, whose attorney tried to convince a Brooklyn jury that his client could not be guilty of a hate crime in the death of Michael Sandy because he too was gay, has been convicted of manslaughter in the second degree as a hate crime as well as petty larceny.
The jury deliberated for four days.
Fortunato, Fox, and two others lured Michael Sandy via an internet chat room to a beach near Brooklyn’s Belt Parkway, where a botched robbery led to the victim being forced into traffic where he was hit by a car. Sandy fell into a coma and later died of his injuries. Fox was convicted of manslaughter and attempted robbery as a hate crime last Friday.
According to Gay City News, the deliberating was contentious in Fortunato’s case, with many objecting to the hate crime charges. Said one juror: “By the letter of the law Fortunato was guilty, but no one felt he had any hatred or animosity toward homosexuals. It was incredibly hard and I know that the other jurors felt a lot of sympathy for Anthony Fortunato. No one thought he was a bad kid.”
Another juror, with whom the judge had reported many of the other jurors were having conflicts, reiterated those thoughts: “They pounded down my throat that he was reckless, that he was negligent. Nobody believed that hate crimes should have been on the table.”
Fox is scheduled to be sentenced on October 24. Fortunato is to be sentenced four days earlier, on the 20th.
A memorial and vigil are scheduled for Sandy on the anniversary of his death. Details are here.
Guilty Verdict Reached In Brooklyn Hate Crime Killing [ny1]
Man guilty of hate crime in death of gay victim at Brooklyn beach [newsday]
Jury Convicts Second Sandy Defendant of Manslaughter, This Time Reluctantly [gay city news]