News (USA)

2nd trial gets underway in Dallas hate crime attack

Jimmy Lee DeanThe second trial gets underway Monday in the 2008 hate crime attack on Dallas resident Jimmy Lee Dean (pictured).

Dean, 43, was hospitalized for 10 days after the attack in July 2008 by Jonathan Gunter and Bobby Singleton. Dean has undergone multiple reconstructive surgeries since then, although medical procedures have been unsuccessful in restoring his sense of smell or repairing some of the facial deformities he sustained. The attack has been called one of the most brutal anti-gay hate crimes Dallas has seen.

Last March, Gunter, 33, was convicted of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and sentenced to 30 years in prison for the attack.

Singleton, 30, is scheduled to stand trial Monday on the same charge, a first-degree felony punishable by five to 99 years in prison.

LGBT advocates say they’re hoping Singleton will receive an even longer sentence, and are calling upon the gay community for a strong turnout at the trial to send a message that the LGBT community believes Dean’s attack was an anti-gay hate crime.

Gunter and Singleton yelled anti-gay epithets during the attack, and police said the suspects admitted targeting Dean because they thought it would be easier to rob a gay man.

Dallas police classified the case as an anti-gay hate crime for FBI reporting purposes. But the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office chose not to seek a hate crime enhancement because it wouldn’t result in a longer prison sentence but could increase their burden of proof.

Under Texas law, a hate crime enhancement doesn’t result in a longer prison sentence if the charge is already a first-degree felony.

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