Atlanta’s Dorian Moragne (21) and Christopher Cain (19) both plead guilty to beating a man for the mere fact that he was gay, meaning — that for the first time ever — Georgia is honoring the “sexual orientation” provision of Congress’ Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and proceeding with their convictions. The plea was accepted by Senior United States District Judge J. Owen Forrester.
The federal hate crimes law criminalizes acts of violence motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, or gender identity.
The charges and other information presented in court paint a grisly picture. According to the court’s findings, the ordeal began last year. On Feb. 4, 2012, Cain, Moragne, along with two other unidentified men — one of which was a juvenile — set their sights on a 20-year-old gay man leaving a grocery store in Atlanta’s “Pittsburgh” neighborhood. The assailants, all associated with the “Jack City Street Gang,” accosted the man at the corner of Delevan and McDaniel.
Cain threw the first punch, hitting the victim in the head and knocking him to the ground. Three of the men surrounded the victim and repeatedly assaulted him, kicking and punching the man while he cowered, protectively holding his hands over his head. The men were yelling anti-gay slurs that included “No faggots in Jack City!” Unsatisfied with the extent of the beating, Moragne picked up a tire and used it to strike the already injured victim. The group then pocketed the man’s cell phone.
The assault was recorded by an observer, who later posted the footage online. The repugnant video of the beating went viral, showing millions of viewers just how senseless and disgusting the act was.
Both Cain and Moragne were sentenced to ten years in prison with a suspension after five years of service. Federal prosecutors recommended that both their state and federal sentences run concurrently as part of a plea agreement. No word is currently available on the statuses of the other offenders.
The case is being further investigated by Special Agents of the FBI and along with APD detectives. The prosecution will be handled by Trial Attorney Nicole Lee Ndumele of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant United States Attorney Brent Alan Gray.
At any rate, Georgia is honoring the federal ban on crimes motived by (but not limited to) sexual orientation and the verdict is clear: If you can’t keep your gay-bashing hands to yourself, Georgia will help you by cuffing them and throwing you in a cell, removing your chances of ruining the life of another member of the LGBT public for at least a few years. You’re welcome.