Men who violently attacked gay couple escape jail thanks to kindness of victims

Miami Dade Corrections

Four men in who were convicted for a brutal assault on a gay couple have escaped up to 30 years in jail, thanks to the kindness of their victims.

The attack happened in Miami, Florida on 8 April, 2018, and a jury found Adonis Diaz, Juan Lopez, Pablo Romo, and Luis Alonso guilty of two counts of felony battery charges for an assault on the same-sex couple.

The 2018 incident saw the four men brutally assault Dmitry Logonov and Rene Chalarca, who were holding hands while in line at a public bathroom in Miami during the South Beach Pride celebrations.

On Monday (24 October), Logonov explained that he had moved to the US to avoid being criminalised for his sexuality.

Despite the attack on him and his partner, he showed compassion for the four men.

In a statement read by hate crimes unit division chief Justin Funck, Logonov had wrote: “Today, I’m taking a chance to rebuild my life. 

“I believe these gentlemen should have that chance, too.”

The four men each publicly apologised to the gay couple in front of Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ariana Fajardo Orshan.

Diaz responded: “I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn from my mistakes,” while Romo-Figueroa said: “I’m here to offer my sincere apologies, my actions that day don’t define who I am or how I was raised.”

The four pleaded guilty to two counts of battery with prejudice in exchange for five years of probation, 200 hours of community service, and anger management classes, WPLG Local 10 reported.

What happened on 8 April 2018?

After the couple accidentally brushed against, Lopez proceeded to yell anti-gay slurs in Spanish, before he and his three friends attacked them.

This beating continued on the streets, where it was captured on CCTV.

The attack saw Logonov and another man who attempted to intervene knocked unconscious.

Following the incident, Miami Beach Police posted the footage to social media in a bid to identify the men who saw the video and handed themselves in.

During a three-day hearing last February, the men attempted to claim they were innocent, using Florida’s “stand your ground” defence, but judge Orshan quickly dismissed those claims. 

“There’s nothing in that video – and I watched it over and over again – that showed me that any of these defendants was in fear for their safety or their lives,” judge Orshan said. 

The men were initially charged with aggravated battery but the counts were later upgraded to include hate crime charges, meaning they faced up to 30 years in jail for their crimes. 

It comes as anti-LGBTQ+ violence in the UK is rising at a record-breaking rate, alarming police figures have revealed. 

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