Almost two years after Justin Alesna was brutally attacked in a convenience store, his attacker, Everett Dwayne, 26, was sentenced to 18 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Dwaryne was convicted of committing a federal hate crime by assaulting Alesna because he is gay.
BTL reported the March 7, 2011 attack soon after it happened. At that time Alesna told BTL that Dwayne asked him to not stand too close to him while Alesna was standing in line and waiting to purchase cigarettes. Dwayne then started asking Alesna if he was “a fucking homo.” Alesna ignored him, purchased his cigarettes and went to leave when Dwayne stopped him and showed him a gun. Alesna said Dwayne then punched him in the face, fracturing his eye socket. Alesna fought back and asked the cashier to call the police. The cashier did not call the police, but told the men to stop fighting.
“The amount of cruelty that was shown to me throughout this whole situation is beyond appalling,” Alesna said. “The fact that I was assaulted and asked to leave the crime scene. The fact that there were two other individuals besides myself and the clerk who did nothing but gawk and laugh the whole time this was going on. What happened to decency?”
Avery pled guilty to violating the federal Hate Crimes Protection Act on Aug. 29, 2012.
“Congress has made it clear that it is a crime to assault people solely on the basis of their sexual orientation,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara McQuade. “Prosecutions under this law are important to ensure that all people in our community know that they have the full protection of the law.
“Hate-fueled incidents like this one have no place in a civilized society,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to using all the tools in our law enforcement arsenal, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to prosecute acts motivated by hate.”