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Plea deal gives gang leader 14-year sentence in Bronx anti-gay beating

Feb. 21, 2014 at 11:47 AM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A gang leader who lured a man into a New York apartment and then beat and tortured him for hours has agreed to a plea deal and a 14-year sentence, lawyers said.

Idelfonoso Mendez, 26, the leader of the Latin King Goonies, pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree gang assault in the beating of that man and two others.

The beating is regarded as one of the city's most violent anti-gay crimes, the New York Times reported.

Five other gang members were previously sentenced to terms ranging from 2 1/2 years to 13 years.

Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson announced the plea deal and said it was reached after a lengthy discussion with the victims.

Mendez will be sentenced on March 31.

The last remaining defendant, Luis Garcia, is set to be in court on Friday.

Mendez and the other gang members were initially charged with a hate crime, but prosecutors said they did not pursue the charge because the victims did not want to testify at trial.

Some gay rights activists said they were disappointed by that decision, the Times said.

"We are pleased that the perpetrators of this egregious crime are being punished for their uncivil actions," said Peter Frank, a co-founder and secretary of the Bronx LGBTQ Center. "However, as this gang assault was motivated by hatred and ignorance, we are disappointed that this defendant was not convicted of a hate crime."

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