2006_10_michaelsandy2.jpgThree Brooklyn men, ages 16-20, were charged with hate crimes in the beating of Michael Sandy. Police believe that John Fox, Ilya Shurov, and Gary Timmins met Sandy online and lured him to Plumb Beach, an area off the Belt Parkway, with the intention of robbing him - because Sandy was gay. While setting up the meeting, they asked him to bring enough money for a hotel room. From the NY Post:

Fox then lured him to a spot by the parkway, where the suspect and three friends allegedly robbed and beat Sandy, whom they considered "an easy mark" because he is gay, police said.

The tragic man fled onto the Belt, where he was struck by a car. He is now in a vegetative state at Brookdale Hospital, where his family was struggling with the decision on whether to take him off life support.

It is also Sandy's 29th birthday today.

Authorities also suspect that the three suspects might have been behind other gay bashings. One thing that remains to be seen is whether the DA's office will be able to successfully argue this as a hate crime; a law professor at John Jay, Brian S. MacNamara, told the NY Times, “The prosecutor will have to prove that in the underlying assault and robbery the victim was targeted in some way because of his sexual orientation. It’s a little bit tricky because, obviously, the main crime was the robbery, so you have to prove that the motivation for selecting that victim was substantially because he was gay.”