Gay hate gang member faces 25 years after manslaughter conviction

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A jury has convicted a man for manslaughter and homophobic hate crimes following an attack on a gay victim on a remote New York beach.

John Fox was acquitted of the murder of Michael Sandy (pictured) but found guilty of second-degree manslaughter and attempted robbery. Mr Sandy was ambushed and chased into oncoming traffic during a mugging attempt. A car struck him as he fled two men.

Fox was accused of being part of a gay of young men who frequented gay chat rooms in order to find potential victims. It was claimed that the men lured the 28-year-old Mr Sandy onto a beach on the pretence of a date.

The second alleged member of the gang Anthony Fortunato is charged with murder, manslaughter and hate crimes. The jury considering the case is currently still deliberating.

Mr Fortunato, admits that he was involved in the incident but claims he is gay and did not intend for a “con” of Mr Sandy to turn violent.

The third alleged member of the group, Ilye Shurov,faces a separate trial. A fourth man, Gary Timmins, a youth at the time of the attack pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of attempted robbery and testified against Fox and Mr Fortunato.

“Michael is loved by everyone he comes into contact with. There is not one person I’ve met that can say anything bad about Michael,” Mr Sandy’s then room mate, Nick Predescu, said last year following the attack.

His profile on the social networking site Friendster, still online says: “Some one who appreciates music loves to dance. Great personality. funny, true in heart. Wants more then the average guy. And of course artistic in some way or form.”

Fox faces a prison term of up to 25 years.