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Teenage gay
basher to be sentenced as an adult

Teenage gay
basher to be sentenced as an adult

A teenager who pleaded guilty to charges in February's beating of a gay man in Santa Fe, N.M., will be sentenced as an adult. State district judge Michael Vigil ruled Tuesday that David Trinidad, 17, is not amenable to treatment as a juvenile. The judge said evaluations indicate Trinidad has little remorse for his actions.

Trinidad pleaded guilty in August to charges of aggravated battery, battery, conspiracy, and criminal damage to property. He and three other people who entered guilty pleas in September in the attack will not be sentenced until two remaining defendants go to trial in February.

James Maestas, 21, and Joshua Stockham, 23, were attacked in the parking lot of a Santa Fe motel early February 27, 2005. Maestas spent nearly a week in intensive care; Stockham suffered minor injuries. Maestas told the court, "I'm dealing every day of my life as a person who got beat up because of who they are." Stockham said the attack has affected his life "quite dramatically." He said he doesn't go out as much, and when he does he's nervous.

Maestas and Stockham were attacked in the parking lot after eating with a group of friends at a nearby restaurant, according to police, and they left the restaurant after a group of young men became aggressive toward them. Trinidad, a waiter who served Maestas and the others, knew where they were going and directed his friends to the motel.

Trinidad apologized to the men and their families. "I shouldn't have done what I did," he said. "I know I messed up their lives pretty bad. I don't want to be the same person I was before. I want to be different."

Eric Kraska, an emergency room physician who treated Maestas at St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, told Tuesday's hearing that Maestas probably would have died if he hadn't gotten treatment. Kraska said Maestas was on a respirator for seven days, longer than he'd ever heard of for a patient suffering from trauma.

At the time of the attack Trinidad was on probation for raping a 4-year-old and had already spent a year at a sex offender treatment center and seven months in outpatient treatment, according to assistant district attorney Heidi Zoyhofski. (AP)

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