Two men were sentenced to prison after pleading no contest to charges resulting from separate baseball bat attacks in Los Angeles on men they thought were gay. Ever Wilfredo Rivera, 20, was sentenced to 14 years in prison, and Selvin Orlando Campos, 20, was sentenced to 10, both after pleading no contest Wednesday to charges of attempted murder and hate crimes. Both men could have faced life sentences if the case had gone to trial and they had been convicted. Los Angeles County superior court judge William Fahey also ordered them to pay the victims' medical bills.
Ricardo Lorenzana, 47, was struck in the head with a baseball bat on October 14 and needed 14 stitches to close the wound. He said the attack makes him constantly worry about his safety. "Now they are going to pay the price," Lorenzana said Wednesday. "I hope they learn from what they did. It wasn't right."
Soon after Lorenzana was attacked, a 19-year-old man was assaulted, warding off blows from the bat but getting cut by a knife. Authorities said the assailants used antigay slurs during that attack.
The attacks occurred just east of West Hollywood, where a September 2002 attack on gay actor Trev Broudy was prosecuted as a robbery and assault. The decision by prosecutors not to file hate-crimes charges in that case prompted picketing of Los Angeles County district attorney Steve Cooley's office. Cooley said investigators had established that the only motive was robbery.
Deputy district attorney John Allen Ramseyer said the later cases were definitely hate crimes. "The suspects went to this neighborhood looking for these types of vulnerable victims," Ramseyer said.