Two Texas men charged with hate crimes for torturing gay man

Reuters News
|
Posted: Aug 18, 2015 11:35 AM

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Two Texas men have been indicted on federal hate crime charges, with U.S. prosecutors accusing them of beating and torturing a gay black man in Corpus Christi in 2012, officials said on Tuesday.

Jimmy Garza Jr., 32, and Ramiro Serrata Jr., 22, have been charged with conspiracy to commit hate crimes, a hate crime violation based on race and color, a hate crime violation based on sexual orientation and using a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas said.

If convicted, both could face up to life in prison.

The U.S. attorney's office said the two lured the victim, who was not identified, into a Corpus Christi apartment.

Over the course of three hours, they beat him with items such as a frying pan, coffee mug, belt and a chair while using racial and homophonic slurs against the man, the office said.

They poured a household chemical solution on the man's eyes and bleeding face, and pistol whipped him. The two are also suspected of sodomizing him with a broom handle, the office said.

The victim eventually escaped through an apartment window, it said.

Lawyers for the two men were not immediately available for comment.

Garza is due to appear in a federal court on Aug. 24 while Serrata appeared before a U.S. magistrate on Monday.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Lisa Lambert)