Michael Sandy - Trial and Sentencing

Trial and Sentencing

In a New York State trial courtroom, the Brooklyn Supreme Court (located in Brooklyn, NY), jury selection started on September 10, 2007 for the trial of Anthony Fortunato and John Fox, two of the four men accused of chasing Michael Sandy to his death in October 2006. They were charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one as a hate crime, four counts of attempted robbery with two as hate crimes, two manslaughter counts, one as a hate crime, and two assault counts, one as a hate crime. The third man, Ilya Shurov, was to be tried separately at a future date on the same charges. The fourth, Gary Timmons, had already pleaded guilty in 2006 to the reduced crime of attempted robbery as a hate crime in return for testifying as a prosecution witness.

In the opening arguments on Monday, September 17, 2007, Gerald Di Chiara, the lawyer for one of the defendants, Anthony Fortunato, announced that his client was also gay. Chiara also said that Fortunato had planned on telling his friends that he was gay the night the attack occurred, and that luring Michael Sandy to Sheepshead Bay for sex was part of that plan. Di Chiara also claimed that the prosecution's witness, Gary Timmons, one of the four men who were accused of attacking Sandy, was also gay. The lawyers for both defendants argued that no robbery had taken place.

On Friday, October 5, 2007, a jury came back with a verdict of guilty against John Fox, Jr. on the charges of Manslaughter, Attempted Robbery in the Second Degree, and Attempted Robbery in the First Degree. All counts were as hate crimes. The prison times Fox faced ranged from 5 to 50 years.

On October 11, 2007, Anthony Fortunato, the third defendant, was found guilty of manslaughter as a hate crime for his role in the death of Michael Sandy. He was also convicted of attempted petty larceny, but acquitted of attempted robbery. After the verdict, jurors criticized the application of the hate crime law as inappropriate in this case. In the trial, Fortunato had claimed he was gay and based on that claim, his lawyer asked that the hate crime charges be dismissed, but the judge ruled that the charges would stand. Three older gay men testified that they had sex with Fortunato on separate occasions before the attack against Sandy occurred in October 2006.

On November 5, 2007, Ilya Shurov, 21, the fourth and last defendant in the Michael Sandy case, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and attempted robbery as hate crimes on the day his trial was to have started. As part of the plea bargain, the charge of felony murder as a hate crime was dropped. Shurov agreed to serve 17.5 years for his guilty plea. If he had been found guilty of felony murder as a hate crime, it could have resulted in a life sentence. Shurov was the only defendant accused of physical violence against Michael Sandy.

Three of the four men were sentenced on November 20, 2007 for their role in causing the death of Michael Sandy in 2006. They received the following sentences from Justice Jill Konviser-Levine of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, NY: Anthony Fortunato (21), 7 to 21 years. For the lure, John Fox (20), 13 to 21 years. And for the aggressor, Ilya Shurov (21), 17½ years. Each of those received slightly less than the maximum sentence. Gary Timmons (17), who in a plea bargain made the previous year, testified as a prosecution witnesses during the trial against John Fox and Anthony Fortunato, and he was to be sentenced to four years at a later date.

Read more about this topic:  Michael Sandy

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