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Austin Head's Attacker Gets Two Years in Jail Thanks to Ariz. Hate-Crimes Law

Austin Head's Attacker Gets Two Years in Jail Thanks to Ariz. Hate-Crimes Law

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Head is a performer and candidate for Phoenix's City Council.

Nbroverman

A man will serve over two years in prison for an attack on a gay man in Phoenix, a sentence increased thanks to Arizona's bias-crime statute.

A judge threw the book at 24-year-old Ernie Barnes Jr. for attacking Austin Head, a gay performer and candidate for Phoenix City Council, in November. Head, unconscious when paramedics arrived at the scene, was called an antigay epithet by Barnes and his brother prior to the attack.

Barnes has the two-year prison sentence, and his brother, Jermon, will serve six months of intensive probation. Prosecutors are happy with the sentences, which would have been much less severe without an Arizona law that prosecutes hate crimes against gay people and gives longer sentences for bias-motivated crimes.

"It says that Phoenix doesn't tolerate this type of hate," Head told local media. "The city took it very seriously."

Nbroverman
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Neal Broverman

Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.
Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.