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Guilty Plea in Hunter Case


The Washington, D.C., man charged with beating to death Tony Randolph Hunter pleaded guilty Thursday to one charge of misdemeanor assault.

Robert Lee Hannah, who was originally charged with voluntary manslaughter, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge as part of a plea bargain arrangement offered by prosecutors.

Hunter died after being repeatedly punched by Hannah outside of a D.C. gay bar in September 2008.
Using the "gay panic" defense, Hannah claimed he attacked Hunter after being sexually propositioned.

''He was offended by the way [Hunter] touched him. ... He had a knee-jerk reaction,'' claimed defense attorney Joseph Caleb at a hearing on Thursday, according to Metro Weekly.

Witnesses to the incident have provided conflicting accounts to police. One man who was with Hunter at the time of the altercation claims that Hunter never touched Hannah and that the assault was unprovoked.

D.C. superior court judge Rafael Diaz scheduled Hannah's sentencing for October 14. Hannah faces a maximum sentence of 180 days, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

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Christopher Mangum