Two Atlanta men plead guilty to gay hate crime

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Two men who attacked a gay Atlanta man while yelling gay slurs pleaded guilty on Thursday to a federal hate crime charge, becoming the first convictions in Georgia under the federal law. Christopher Cain and Dorian Moragne -- two of the four men who beat Brandon White during an attack in southwest Atlanta on Feb. 4, 2012 -- were sentenced to 10 years in prison, with five years to serve, during a trial in Fulton County Superior Court last July. Under a plea agreement announced Thursday, the men will also serve a concurrent sentence on the federal hate crime charge. “Violence against another person because of his or her sexual orientation has no place in our civilized society,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates says in a prepared statement. “The citizens of this district should know that we are committed aggressively prosecuting hate crimes.” Cain and Moragne admitted to violating the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was expanded in 2009 to include crimes motivated by sexual orientation and gender identity. Yates said the hate crimes convictions based on sexual orientation are a first in Georgia. The state's hate crimes law was scrapped by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2004. “The FBI remains committed to ensuring the civil rights of all individuals, to include those singled out and attacked because of their perceived differences,” Mark Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Atlanta office, says in a prepared statement. “These acts of violence should be reported and aggressively investigated to ensure that we send a clear message that these actions will not be tolerated.” Cain and Moragne were among four men accused of attacking White in a crime that gained national attention after it was recorded and posted online. The men beat White and called him “faggot” during the incident outside a grocery store in southwest Atlanta. Last July, Dareal Demare Williams was also sentenced to 10 years to serve five for his role in the attack. The statement from Yates on Thursday did not mention if Williams was facing a federal hate crime charge. It also did not reference Javaris Bradford, who was indicted in the state case but eluded police capture. Photos of (l-r) Cain, Moragne, Williams via Fulton County Jail


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