Man accused of hate crimes
By LOGAN D. MABE, Times Staff Writer
TAMPA -- Sonny Gonzales still has a bald spot on the back of his head where the blows opened his scalp. His partner, Stephen Hair, suffered a skull fracture, a cracked sinus and a broken front tooth.
Now, five weeks after the attack that left the men physically and emotionally scarred, they are eager to see justice done.
The Hillsborough State Attorney's Office charged Devin Scott Angus, 21, of Clearwater, with a string of felony hate crimes Thursday stemming from the July 7 attack, which happened as the men were leaving a gay pride party.
Angus faces three counts of aggravated battery evidencing prejudice and four counts of battery evidencing prejudice, said prosecutor Pam Bondi.
"The prejudice bumps (the felonies) up to first degree, so the penalty on them doubles," Bondi said.
The aggravated battery charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years each. The battery charges are each punishable by up to five years in prison. He is currently free on $6,000 bail. The incident happened on the last day of PrideFest, a six-day event in Tampa and St. Petersburg that celebrates gays and lesbians.
Gonzales, 34, and Hair, 25, had just left a party at the Florida Aquarium and were walking with a friend to their limousine when Angus yelled a homosexual slur at them, police said. Angus then dropped his pants and screamed obscenities at the three before going at them with punches and kicks, police said.
Scott Boswell, 24, suffered a split lip in the attack, which happened in a Channelside parking garage.
The victims, all of whom live in St. Petersburg, said Thursday that they were glad charges had been filed.
"Maybe they can make an example out of him, and the next person who thinks to do it won't," Gonzales said. "That is really what all of us are aiming for. We just want to make sure it stays out there so this doesn't happen again."
-- Logan D. Mabe can be reached at 269-5304 or at email@example.com.
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