Dallas Sentences Man to 75 Years in Prison for Brutally Beating Gay Man in Oak Lawn

A Dallas County jury Thursday sentenced a man who shouted slurs as he brutally beat a gay man to 75 years in prison.That's 15 years more than prosecutors requested and more than twice the sentence of his accomplice. The July 2008 attack by Bobby Singleton and another man in Oak Lawn left Jimmy Dean with a broken back, facial disfigurement, no sense of smell and ongoing pain. They punched and stomped Dean at gunpoint and then stole his lighter, pocket knife and wallet. Dean wiped tears from his eyes after State District Judge Ernie White read the sentence. But Singleton, who inflicted most of the damage to Dean, showed no visible reaction. Dean said afterward that he was overwhelmed by the jury's decision. He said he thought there might only be one juror who thought Singleton should get the 60 years prosecutors requested for aggravated robbery. "I think it shows the jury does understand," Dean said. "It makes the next two people who go into any neighborhood, and pick out anyone, think twice." He also said the verdict gives him "faith in people" and said the days are gone when criminals received a lesser sentence because the victim is gay. "This sets a precedence for anything like this that happens," Dean said. "Maybe this will set a standard for anybody, no matter what your sexual orientation is, a violent crime is a violent crime." Although Dallas police classified the beating and robbery as a hate crime with the FBI, the district attorney's office did not prosecute it as one. There is no charge in Texas for a hate crime. It can be used to enhance punishment, but aggravated robbery is already punishable by up to life in prison. After the verdict, most jurors stood in a receiving line of sorts to hug Dean and his friends. One woman told Dean that he needed to start living his life again. He has said he spends a lot of time in his room. He's a musician, but he put his guitars in storage after the attack. Dean said that he would try. Jurors declined to comment about their deliberations of more than four hours except to say they were "difficult." Earlier Thursday, Singleton, who will eligible for parole in 30 years, testified in an attempt to persuade jurors to give him a lighter sentence. Singleton repeatedly called the attack "a fight," but there is no evidence that Dean ever threw a punch  Continue reading...

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