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Crime

No Jail Time for Four Men Convicted of Brutal Homophobic Attack

Miami Dade men arrested for attack

The four men were spared in part by the compassion of the victims.

Four men in Florida were convicted yesterday for the brutal 2018 assault on two gay men holding hands in a public restroom in Miami, but escaped jail time thanks in part to the kindness of the victims.

A jury found Adonis Diaz, Juan Lopez, Pablo Romo, and Luis Alonso guilty of two counts of felony battery charges for the April 8, 2018 assault on Dmitry Logonov and Rene Chalarca. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ariana Fajardo Orshan sentenced the men to five years of probation but also required the men to publicly apologize to the victims, both of whom were in court.

Logonov said he moved to the U.S. to avoid persecution for his sexual identity, only to become a victim of the brutal attack. On Monday, however, he showed compassion for his attackers and offered them the opportunity to rebuild their lives.

"Today, I'm taking a chance to rebuild my life," Logonov wrote in a statement that was read to the court by Hate Crimes Unit Division Chief Justin Funck. "I believe these gentlemen should have that chance, too."

"I'm thankful for the opportunity to learn from my mistakes," said Diaz in a brief statement to the court and his victims.

"I'm here to offer my sincere apologies," echoed Romo-Figueroa. "My actions that day don't define who I am or how I was raised."

Boyfriends Logonov and Chalarca were holding hands in line in a public restroom during South Beach Pride celebrations in 2018 when they accidentally brushed against Lopez. After yelling an antigay slur in Spanish, Lopez and his three friends brutally attacked the gay men. The beating continued onto the streets, where it was partially captured on surveillance video. Logonov was knocked unconscious, as was another man whose head struck the curb after he attempted to intervene.

The four men were arrested after Miami Beach Police posted the disturbing video to social media and asked for the public's help in identifying the suspects. The men turned themselves in to the police after the video was posted. Viewer discretion is advised for the video below.

The men had attempted to claim they were innocent, using Florida's "stand your ground" defense. However, Judge Orshan quickly dismissed those claims at the conclusion of a three-day hearing last February.

"There's nothing in that video -- and I watched it over and over again -- that showed me that any of these defendants was in fear for their safety or their lives," Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ariana Fajardo Orshan said at the time.

The four were initially charged with aggravated battery, although the counts were later upgraded to include hate crime charges. The men faced up to 30 years in jail for their crimes.

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