YORKVILLE, Ill. (CBS) — An Oswego man will spend the next two years in prison, after admitting to attacking and brutally beating another man because he was gay.
Marquitte West, 18, is one of three men charged in the attack on Bryce Stiff, 29, also of Oswego, on June 24. It was the first time Kendall County has prosecuted a hate crime related to sexual orientation.
Stiff was viciously beaten by four men, to the point where he was left with nerve damage in his face and legs and needed reconstructive surgery on his lip. He now goes to counseling three days a week.
“I used to be a happy, caring and loving person who would do anything to help anyone,” Stiff, 29, wrote in a victim impact statement read in court Monday. “I was happy about me being gay … but now I’m filled with so much bitterness, hatred and I’m very depressed. I don’t like leaving my home. I don’t like doing things that excite me anymore. I feel like everyone is out to get me.”
Stiff said he felt some “relief” Monday when one his attackers, West was sentenced to two years in prison as part of a deal in which he pleaded guilty to a hate crime, the Aurora Beacon-News reports.
“It’s a little bit of relief,” Stiff said after the hearing at the Kendall County Courthouse. “I hope this never happens to anyone else. It’s not easy to deal with.”
West will serve two years at the same time he serves another 2-year sentence for a theft charge he also pleaded guilty to. In that case, he was caught on video trying to sell a stolen laptop computer.
West was also ordered to pay Stiff $6,527 to cover his medical bills since the attack.
Two other men, Robert Franklin and Jabari Tuggles, both of Oswego, are awaiting trial on mob action charges in the attack on Stiff.
Asst. State’s Atty. Robert Dore said prosecutors are considering charges against a fourth suspect.
In his statement, Stiff said West was the “ring leader” of the attack, offering others $20 to beat Stiff, and calling him derogatory names.
“How low can you get?” Stiff wrote. “You are a menace to society.”
Stiff said he had been friends with West’s brother, and “knew of” West before the attack.
The Aurora Beacon-News contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.