An 18-year-old has been indicted for almost beating a disabled man to death because he thought he was gay.
José Tobias Carranza Serrano, also known as Kevin Lopez, has been charged with first-degree attempted murder, bias intimidation and robbery for his alleged attack on a 37-year-old disabled man.
Carranza Serrano allegedly punched, kicked, choked and attempted to gouge the eyes out of the man at James J. Braddock North Hudson Park in New Jersey, at around 11pm on June 21.
The victim was found unconscious near a path around the lake by a passerby shortly before 5am the next day.
He had suffered multiple bone fractures and several of his teeth were knocked out.
The results of the attack left the victim hospitalised and forced doctors to put him into a medically-induced coma at the time.
The man has since recovered from his injuries.
An investigation into the attack revealed Carranza Serrano, who is from Baltimore in Maryland, had only just met his victim that evening.
Carranza Serrano, who is also charged with second-degree aggravated assault, allegedly wanted to kill the man because he suspected the victim was gay.
He also took a phone and $8 from the victim following the attack.
Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck said: “We will not tolerate violence targeting the LGBTQ+ community.
“There is simply no excuse for this type of hate, and we will ensure that those who engage in violence are held fully accountable for their actions.”
Director Lyndsay Ruotolo of the Division of Criminal Justice said: “We’re committed to working collaboratively to solve and aggressively prosecute bias crimes.
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“Crimes motivated by hate pose a heightened threat to our communities and demand a heightened level of vigilance. I commend our Specialized Crimes Bureau, the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and our other law enforcement partners for their outstanding work on this case.”
Carranza Serrano now faces a lengthy spell in prison should he be found guilty of the charges.
The first-degree bias intimidation charge carries a sentence of 15 to 30 years in state prison.
Sentences for attempted murder could see a 10 to 20 years in state prison, with parole ineligibility equal to 85% of the sentence imposed. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison.
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