Photo: Sam Howzit via Wikimedia Commons
Two men from Corpus Christi, Texas, were indicted on Monday on federal hate crime charges for the beating, torture and rape of a gay black man in 2012.
A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment against Jimmy Garza, Jr., 32, and Ramiro Serrata, Jr., 22, according to a press release from the U.S Department of Justice. The men have been charged with conspiracy to commit hate crimes, a hate crime violation based on race and color, a hate crime violation based on sexual orientation, and using a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence.
Serrata appeared in court on Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jason Libby and has been held without bond. Garza is already in prison on unrelated charges and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 24.
According to the indictment, Garza and Serrata lured the victim into an apartment on Mar. 8, 2012 before attacking him. The victim previously told Corpus Christi’s NBC affiliate KRIS 6 News that he had owed the men $5, but they continued to attack him even after he paid back the money. During the attack, which lasted three hours, they called him racial and homophobic epithets, punched him, kicked him and assaulted him with a frying pan, a coffee mug, a belt and a chair.
Garza and Serrata are also accused of pouring bleach or another household cleaning agent onto the man’s face and eyes, pistol-whipping him with a handgun, and whipping him with a belt. When the victim began to bleed, the men forced him to strip naked and clean up his own blood. The indictment against them also claims they sodomized the victim with a broom, mop or other unknown object as they continued to call him racial and homophobic slurs, and make several other anti-black and anti-gay statements. The victim was eventually able to escape by jumping out of a second-story window.
If convicted, both Garza and Serrata could face life in prison.
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