Defendant in Michael Sandy Murder Convicted

John Fox, one of four defendants accused in the October 2006 death of Michael Sandy, was convicted of manslaughter and attempted robbery as a hate crime on Friday. He was acquitted of the charge of murder. Sentencing is set for October 24.

FoxFox and three 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’s father John, who was a high-ranking battalion chief in the New York Fire Department honored as a hero for saving a fellow rescue worker in the dangerous smoking pit at the bombed World Trade Center parking garage in 1993, spoke to the press after the conviction.

Said the elder Fox: “He didn’t murder anybody. If I could arrange for their son to be alive and me to be dead, I’d do so.”

Fox Sr. had reportedly expressed the sentiment to Sandy’s parents in the courtroom earlier, in addition to making a special request: “‘I’m very, very sorry,’ he said, resting a hand on Denise Sandy’s shoulder and adding that he would trade his life for her son’s. ‘My son is not a bad kid. I would appreciate it if you could ask the judge for mercy for my son.'”

MichaelsandyThe jury foreman talked to media outside the courtroom as well, the NYT reports: “Outside the courthouse yesterday, the jury foreman, Jason Linetsky, 29, said the hate crime charges were the source of some debate. ‘We needed clarification of: how much do we bring of our own personal feelings?’ Mr. Linetsky said. On a more basic level, the jury’s verdict included apparent contradictions, endorsing the elements of causing a death in the course of a robbery but rejecting the felony murder charges. Asked about that, Mr. Linetsky posed his own question: ‘Were we about to send somebody to life when he wasn’t the direct cause of it?’ Without the element of a hate crime, manslaughter is a Class C nonviolent felony carrying a minimum penalty of 1 to 3 years and a maximum of 5 to 15. As a hate crime, the charge is a Class B violent felony carrying a sentence of 5 to 15 years, according to the district attorney’s office.”

The paper adds: “The Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, made no comment on the jury’s application of the hate crime law, but Christine C. Quinn, the first openly lesbian City Council speaker, said, ‘Today a Brooklyn jury sent a powerful message that hate crimes of any stripe have no place here in New York City.'”

A second jury is considering the case of Anthony Fortunato. They are still deliberating.

Conviction in Death of Gay Man in Traffic [nyt]
Cohort faces 25 years in case of gay man hit by car in Brooklyn [nydn]
Brooklyn Man Convicted of Gay Attack [ap]


  1. Jake says

    Let check the scoreboard folks : 0 comments about this important verdict so far this morning…. half a dozen about Prince William doing vodka shots.

    Yup it’s another great day at Towleroad. You readers/commenters make us all proud !

  2. Davey says

    5-25 years is a start. I really want to see what is gonna happen with the little punk Anthony Fortunato.

  3. Sebastian says

    Sorry Ms Quinn, a couple of years in jail hardly sends a “powerful” message to anyone in the country. All it says is kill a gay guy, and time served waiting for the trial will be the only time you get. More injustice for a gay man, and, it shows why prosecutors need to be taught how to show what a hate crime is, and, I don’t give a rats rear if they only wanted to rob him, since I doubt if they really wanted sex with him to begin with, he still was killed, murdered, or whatever the legal term is and is dead.

    This “verdict” just turns my stomach. 1-3 years for taking a life, amazing at how so called democracy and blind justice works.

  4. anon ( says

    The verdict sounds about right, though chasing someone into traffic is right up to the edge of manslaughter. The jury has nothing to do with the length of the sentence to be served remember.

  5. Sebastian says

    I guess you are right anon, he is dead, and they had nothing to do with it, so, I guess to some this really is how justice is served. Its a shame that life means nothing in this country anymore with all the rights being given to the defendant, and, the gall of his father to say his kid is a good kid, good kids don’t rob and kill others, but could the dean mans folks say a good word about the one who helped kill thier son, only in America would such nonsense be allowed to happen.

  6. Derrick from PHilly says

    Jake and Sebastian: of course you’re right. But you know, just a decade or so ago, this case would have never gone to trial. And so many cases like this still never go to trial–the cops/DAs don’t usually catch the killers of gay people, especially minorities within the gay world. It’s thought “fags bring it on themselves.”

  7. Paul says

    Also, it is 5-15 years, not 1-3, and Fox wasn’t the main instigator of the events that resulted in Sandy’s death.

    Does anyone know when these pictures were taken? They look like they’re from outside the court; if that’s the case, I’m a bit surprised he went to trial wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Or are these pictures that were taken when he was arrested?

  8. Davey says

    I believe the pics of Fox were taken very early on in the investigation. I remember they were in The Post about a year ago. I’ll never forget how he was wearing the 9/11 shirt, I’m sure only to bring attention to the fact that his father was a firefighter.

  9. says

    “My son is not a bad kid”… just because he lures men into a trap to rob them then chases them to their death? Really good kid papa. Denise Sandy’s son was also good and he was shown no mercy.