Anthony Fortunato was found guilty today of manslaughter in the second degree as a hate crime and attempted petty larceny for his part in luring a gay man to a meeting place last October, beating him and chasing him into traffic.
Mr. Fortunato was charged in the crime along with two others, John Fox, 20; and Ilya Shurov, 21. They were charged with murder under the state Hate Crimes Act of 2000.
Prosecutors said the three contacted Mr. Sandy through an online gay chat room, selected him as a robbery victim in the belief that a gay man would be unwilling or unable to put up a fight and unlikely to report the crime.
Mr. Fortunato’s lawyer, Gerald J. Di Chiara, said during opening arguments on Sept. 17 that his client would not have made a gay man a target because he himself was gay.
When he took the stand himself, Mr. Fortunato was asked his sexual orientation. He responded, “I don’t know.” Asked what he meant, he said: “I could be homosexual. A homosexual. Bisexual.”
Last Friday, Mr. Fox was convicted of manslaughter and attempted robbery as hate crimes, but acquitted of murder. Mr. Shurov is set to face a separate trial.A fourth, Gary Timmins, 17, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and testified for the prosecution.
The one main problem that I feel is wrong about cyberspace is that it is anonymous and can be taken advantage of for deception...It is embarrassing because I went to High School with that person. He was a year older than me.