Originally published on Advocate.com October 22 2003 11:00 PM ET
Two men charged with beating a gay man at a neighborhood picnic in Shelton, Conn., last year have accepted a plea deal that will mean no prison time. George Hamilton, 42, of Shelton, and Bryan Wendland, 25, of Stratford, were given suspended six-year prison terms after pleading no contest to assault charges stemming from the attack. Both men also received probation with special conditions, including diversity training and community service.
The attack occurred during a Labor Day picnic at Hamilton's home. According to a lawsuit filed by the victim, Hamilton called the man a "faggot" and demanded he leave the party. The lawsuit claims Hamilton then began kicking and punching the victim and that Wendland joined in the attack. The victim suffered two concussions, a torn spleen, a damaged liver, three broken ribs, vision damage, and memory loss. Edward Gavin, Hamilton's attorney, said Tuesday that there were a number of issues involved, including that the defendants had no criminal records. "Things aren't always what they seem," Gavin said. "Upon a fair review of the case, everyone agreed the victim was not attacked as a result of his sexual orientation." Kerry Gleason, the victim's attorney, said his client is "not thrilled with the outcome of the case" but recognizes the state's position.