Three men were indicted yesterday for murder and attempted robbery as hate crimes in the Belt Parkway death of Michael Sandy. Ilya Shurov, Anthony Fortunato, and John Fox are accused of going to a gay chat room and asking Sandy to meet them at Plum Beach off the Belt Parkway. There, the three men are suspected of robbing and beating Sandy, who then ran to the highway and was hit by a car. Sandy lay brain dead in a coma for a few days until his family decided to take him off the life support. The Brooklyn DA's office explained how the incident could be classified as a hate crime:
Typically, according to state law, Hate Crimes are charged when prosecutors believe the defendants acted out of bias against the victims’ race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation. But the less used section of the law calls for Hate Crimes to be charged when the defendant “intentionally selects the person against whom the offense is committed or intended to be committed based on a belief about those same factors.
In this case, District Attorney Hynes charges that the defendants selected their victim based upon a belief about the victim’s sexual orientation then lured him into a trap in an attempt to rob him.
Investigators believe that Fortunato "crafted" the plan and used his computer to find Sandy. Shurov is suspected of going through Sandy's pockets after he was hit. And Fox's father said about his son, "He has a black roommate. [Sandy was black.] They are roommates by choice. It's not racist. My son is not gay.''