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Four plead guilty
in attack last year on singer Kevin Aviance

Four plead guilty
in attack last year on singer Kevin Aviance

Four people who were accused of brutally beating a nightclub singer and recording artist while yelling antigay slurs pleaded guilty Wednesday to assault charges. The four began following Kevin Aviance around 1:30 a.m. on June 10, 2006, after he left a gay bar in the city's East Village neighborhood, calling him derogatory names, police said.

They threw two garbage bags and a paint can at the singer before attacking him and yelling antigay slurs, police said. The defendants punched and kicked Aviance, 39, breaking his jaw and causing other injuries, police said. Passers-by yelled for the attack to stop, and when it was over a man walked Aviance to a hospital.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg denounced the attack as ''a disgrace.''

The four will be sentenced in April and May. In exchange for their guilty pleas Gerard Johnson, 17, will be sentenced to 15 years in prison; Akino George and Jarell Sears, both 21, will get eight-year prison terms; and Gregory Archie, 19, receive a six-year sentence.

They had faced up to 25 years in prison if they had been convicted of the top-count first-degree assault as a hate crime. Designating an offense a hate crime increases the sentence the judge is allowed to impose.

Aviance, who performs in drag, appeared on the Billboard dance music charts in 2002 and 2004 with his songs ''Give It Up'' and ''Alive.'' (Samuel Maull, AP)

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