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Michigan man sentenced in attack on man he believed was gay

Friday, February 8, 2013
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DETROIT — A man who assaulted another man at a Detroit-area gas station in 2011 because he believed his victim was gay, has been sentenced to 18 months in a federal prison.

Everett Avery, 26, of Detroit, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit after pleading guilty to committing a hate crime.

On March 7, 2011, Avery struck Justin Alesna in the face while they were customers at a convenience store in Detroit. Alesna said he went to a BP station to buy cigarettes and was standing in line behind Avery. Avery used an anti-gay slur and told him to move back because he believed Alesna was gay, according to a plea deal.

When Alesna told him that he was in fact gay, Avery punched Alesna in the face without warning, according to the prosecutor. Alesna also testified the clerk at the gas station not only refused to call police, but he encouraged the attacker to “Kill it, bro.”

Alesna, who suffered a fractured eye socket during the assault, gained national attention after posting this video to YouTube that showed his facial injuries suffered from the attack.

“Hate-fueled incidents like this one have no place in a civilized society,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.

“The Justice Department is committed to using all the tools in our law enforcement arsenal, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to prosecute acts motivated by hate.”

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