Louisiana man charged with hate crime, attempted murder of gay man

John Skaggs

John Skaggs

John Skaggs

SHREVEPORT, La. — A Shreveport man is accused of attempted murder and the commission of a hate crime in an attack earlier this week on a gay man at a local bar.

Police arrested William Payne, 31, who, according to witnesses, struck the victim, John Skaggs, 52, with the blunt end of a pool cue, causing serious facial injury to his eye socket and jawbone area.

The attack early Wednesday morning left Skaggs unconscious. He faces reconstructive surgery to repair damage caused by a broken bone that holds his eye socket.

Several witnesses told police that prior to the attack, Payne was making physically threatening statements towards Skaggs because of his sexual orientation.

William Payne

The bar provided police with video surveillance.

Timothy Huck, the bar’s owner, said the video is very disturbing, and shows Payne, who is a large man, breaking the cue stick over Skaggs’
face with one powerful blow, reports KSLA-TV.

“His hand was all the way back, and he’s swinging like a baseball bat, after three aggressive steps in,” said Huck.

Skaggs has been released from the hospital, but once his swelling is down, he’ll have to undergo surgery on his injured eye.

“It is a hate crime, I didn’t do anything, it turns out he told people he knew I was gay, and he was going to beat me up,” said Skaggs.

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