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Five men charged in brutal attack on gay teen in South Carolina

Five men charged in brutal attack on gay teen in South Carolina
Joshua Esskew

Officials in South Carolina have charged five men with the attack on a gay teen who was assaulted outside a convenience store in Rock Hill on April 9.

Joshua Esskew, 19, said he was walking into the store when a man shouted a gay slur at him. When Esskew walked away, that man hit him with a beer bottle in the back of the head.

All five are charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, a felony that carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

From left: Bobby Wilson, Darenco Wilmore, LaJames Mitchell, Lortarius Duncan, and Cortezio Douglas

The five men could face additional charges, as the FBI has been investigating the assault as a possible hate crime. Sheriff Bruce Bryant said Friday that the FBI is turning over its findings to the U.S. Justice Department, the Charlotte Observer reported.

All five suspects are from York, S.C. Charged in the case were: Cortezio Laquise Douglas, 21; Lortarius Anthony Duncan, 22; LaJames Mitchell, 22; Darenco Markie Wilmore, 21; and Bobby Wilson, 20.

“The suspects in this crime have been identified and are being brought to justice due to cooperation between law enforcement and the willingness of the public to get involved and not let this violent crime go unpunished,” said York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant.

Tips from the public after the release of surveillance video of the attack helped authorities identify the suspects.

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