Judge orders hate-crime charges in L.A.

BY Advocate.com Editors

January 14 2003 12:00 AM ET

Two men accused of separate baseball bat attacks on a gay man and a transgendered person in Los Angeles were ordered Friday to stand trial on charges carrying hate-crime allegations. Superior court judge William Fahey found there was sufficient evidence to require Ever Rivera, 20, and Selvin Campos, 19, both of Los Angeles, to stand trial on two counts each of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of second-degree robbery. The hate-crime allegations were added to the charges after prosecutors concluded that the alleged attackers thought their victims were gay.

The attacks occurred in October just east of West Hollywood, where a September 1 attack on a gay actor is being prosecuted as a robbery and assault without hate-crime allegations. The decision by county district attorney Steve Cooley not to file hate-crime charges in that case prompted picketing of Cooley's office and a petition drive to recall him.

In the first case involving Rivera and Campos, a gay man testified that he was struck in the head October 13 with a bat by a pair of assailants who took his house key after he ran home and left the keys in the door as he hurried inside. The man, who identified Rivera and Campos in court, said he had to receive 14 stitches for his injuries. Shortly after that attack, a 19-year-old transgendered person told police that antigay slurs were hurled during another baseball bat attack.

The judge also ordered Rivera to stand trial on separate assault and robbery charges stemming from an alleged October 9 attack on another transgendered person. Rivera remains jailed in lieu of $185,000 bail, and Campos remains behind bars in lieu of $135,000. Both men were scheduled to appear back in court January 24.

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