Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

East Texas Gay Basher Gets 10 Years for Savage Attack

Mickey Jo Smith, convicted of anti-gay hate crime in East Texas.

Paris, Texas – The second of three defendants in the Reno, Texas homophobic hate crime attack on a gay man received a 10 year sentence after pleading no contest to the charges against him. Mickey Jo Smith, 25, took his medicine for participating in the savage beating and burning of 28-year-old Burke Burnett that took place after an October 30, 2011 Halloween gathering gone seriously wrong.  Smith offered no defense Tuesday against charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, plus a hate crime enhancement, as reported in the Dallas Voice.

Burnett, who suffered multiple bruises, stab wounds, and cuts from a broken beer bottle, plus second degree burns from being bodily dumped in a blazing trash barrel, offered this statement on Wednesday to the Voice: “I am grateful and comforted to hear of the sentencing of Micky Joe Smith. So many people who have endured similar experiences of hate crimes have not been afforded the opportunity to see justice served. The gay community in North Texas is a safer place today.”

In February, James Mitchell Laster, 32, pled no contest, and was sentenced to eight years in prison for his part in the hate crime.  The third suspect in the attack, Daniel Shawn Martin, 33, who like the other defendants yelled homophobic slurs at his gay victim while prosecuting his assault, was scheduled to face trial on Wednesday, but according to court officials, his day in court has been postponed.

Texas prosecutors have been reluctant to invoke the state’s hate crimes law in cases involving gay or lesbian victims.  The fact that both men convicted in this brutal example of homophobia have been sentenced with a hate crimes enhancement is significant–perhaps indicating that the LGBTQ community’s protests have been heard by state and local officials.

April 19, 2012 - Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slashing attacks, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, stabbings, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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